Food waste is unnecessary and expensive. By following London Mayor Boris Johnson's "Food Waste Pyramid" guide to minimise edible food waste, all businesses in the hospitality sector can make serious inroads into reducing the amount of food going to landfill.
The guide is simple yet effective: avoid buying surplus food; redistribute unwanted food to charities such as FareShare and FoodCycle; food unfit for human consumption should be fed to animals; and finally, it should go to composting or energy creation if fit for no other purpose.
As supplier of 40% of the fruit and vegetables used by food service in London, the principles of the Food Waste Pyramid are central to New Covent Garden Market's food waste strategy.
By working with the companies on site, overall volumes of waste have been reduced by 35% in the last four years. All fruit and vegetable waste is collected from each individual company, sorted, and then sent either as animal feed or for composting. No food waste goes to landfill.
Part of the strategy is ensuring that growers, distributors and chefs understand what is wanted, when it is available and that it is delivered in the right stage of ripeness. This way growers are not producing unwanted crops and chefs are prepared for seasonal changes.
By ensuring customer understanding of seasonality and availability, and communicating with them, it is possible for the restaurant industry to address the most important part - not creating the waste in the first place.
If you want to play your part, sign the pledge and check how your supplier is managing their waste (www.feeding5k.org/businesses.php)..)
Helen Evans, head of communications atNew Covent Garden Market