Research by Champions 12.3 has found that caterers who have invested $1 in food waste management programmes have saved more than $6 in operating costs.

Champions 12.3 is a coalition of nearly 40 leaders across government, business and civil society dedicated to mobilise action to help reduce food waste.

The company’s survey, ‘The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Catering’, analysed financial costs and benefit data for 86 locations across six countries.

The foodservice operators involved were able to see reduced food waste by 36% on average and 64% of them recovered their investments in food waste reduction programmes, including purchasing new technologies to measure food waste, training staff and redesigning menus.

“The catering industry has been a leader in piloting creative solutions for reducing pre-consumer food waste.”

According to the study, around 79% of the sites invested less than $10,000 in food waste reduction.

World Resources Institute Food Loss and Waste senior fellow and director Liz Goodwin said: “This report has real-world lessons that can be applied in company kitchens today.

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“The catering industry has been a leader in piloting creative solutions for reducing pre-consumer food waste. The task now is to expand the pilots and for those in the industry to learn from what others have seen success doing. This is critical for companies to realise the financial benefits for themselves and contribute to the global effort to halve food waste.”

Champions 12.3 chair Dave Lewis added: “Taking action across the food industry is vital if we are to halve global food waste by 2030.”

The study also recommends caterers to follow a ‘target, measure, act’ approach to reduce food wasted from their kitchens.

It also offers a five step method for food waste reduction including measuring food wastage to know where to prioritise efforts, engage staff, start small and get creative, reduce overproduction and re-purpose excess food.