Food Waste

Bristol’s Going for Gold Food Waste Pilot

By Livvy Drake

Livvy Drake

Livvy Drake (Sustainable Sidekicks) is a Sustainability and Behaviour Change Consultant based in Bristol, focused on developing the mechanisms for meaningful waste reduction. Working in catering and events she has experienced the wastefulness of the hospitality industry first-hand. In the blog post below she shares details of a food waste pilot project she conducted for Bristol Food Network.

It is estimated by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) that in the UK, the hospitality sector wasted £3bn of food in 2016, with 920,000 tonnes being binned. And with food waste being identified as a huge carbon producer (if food waste was a country it would be the third biggest carbon producer after the USA and India) and 28% of agricultural land growing food that is never being eaten- action needs to be taken by all sectors. 

In the build-up to the launch of Bristol’s Going for Gold launch Bristol Food Network were keen to understand better what challenges the hospitality sector faced and what interventions can really make a difference to businesses to reduce food waste. So Bristol Food Network teamed up with Chefs Eye Tech to deliver a food waste reduction pilot with businesses in Bristol. 

The Chefs Eye Tech system includes a set of weighing scales with a tablet dashboard that takes a picture of the weighed food. All the data is then uploaded to an online dashboard where the information can be monitored and compared to look for trends in food waste. In other trials, using the Chefs Eye System has been proven to reduce avoidable food waste by 23%, and help lower purchasing costs by 2%.

Three different businesses; Bristol University Halls, Tin Can Coffee and Thali Cafe joined the three-month pilot from Mid – January to Mid- March which involved using the Chef’s Eye Tech system daily to record veg trimmings, production and plate waste separately. As well as businesses being able to access the information daily, each month the Chefs Eye team fed back to the participating businesses with any trends and suggestions on where reductions could be made. 

The Bristol University, Churchill Hall, which feeds 350 covers a day at breakfast and dinner, identified a number of foods that were being over-produced such as hot breakfast items, vegetables for dinner and vegetarian dishes. Dessert over-production was reduced by 70% and salads by 42% (26kg a week).  As well as reducing these they also made serving spoons smaller and removed some unpopular menu items. These actions led to a 22% (150kg) reduction in over-produced food over the three months.

The Tin Can Coffee’s trial coincided with the employment with a new chef who had a strong waste minimisation ethos, so the challenges the venue had previously faced diminished.

Head Chef Eduardo includes reuse in his cooking style so pastries and muffins are used to make cakes, and croissants are turned into a savoury lunch item rather than being wasted. The venue on North Street, Bedminster also uses the Too Good to Go App for items they can’t sell on the day giving a magic bag of £5.95 worth of food for the bargain price of £2.50. 

The Thali Cafe used their trial of the software to monitor their own food waste monitoring system, which involves chefs uploading food waste figures on to an excel spreadsheet that is hosted in the cloud so everyone has access to it, and can monitor when food waste is arising. Monitoring electronically was identified as the most crucial aspect of tackling food waste by everyone. Without data in a spreadsheet or system, it is very difficult to identify any patterns. 

(Figures from the Chefs Eye Dashboard)

As well as these three businesses, other businesses in Bristol were also interviewed on their food waste reduction practices and these are some of the key learnings: 

  • Monitor and measure your food waste 
  • Talk to customers about left food to understand why plate waste is occurring 
  • Look for ways to reduce fruit and veg trimmings by preparing differently or using them e.g. butternut squash peelings for crisps or orange skins for marmalade. 

For more tips download the full guide.  

If your business would like to trial the Chefs Eye Tech system get in touch and quote: G4GBRISTOL for 10% off for the first 6 months of a contract with Chefs Eye Tech

Quote code: G4GBRISTOL

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