Every year, the world unites to celebrate World Food Day, a day dedicated to addressing global hunger and fostering awareness about food-related issues; it’s also a day to shed light on the interconnected challenges of food waste and its impact on our environment.
Food waste is a critical global issue affecting both environmental and food security. Every year, an estimated one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted, amounting to approximately 1.3 billion tons. The high volume of waste is a poor use of valuable resources such as water, land, and energy.
Also, food waste significantly contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions. If food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter after China and the USA.
World Food Day sheds light on the sharp disparity between global food overconsumption and the alarming levels of hunger and food insecurity. It’s a stark reminder of the urgent need for change in the way we approach food.
Our Member Fooditude is a shining example of a business tackling these issues. Fooditude is a flexible catering service offering a range of services, including office cafes, lunches, pop-ups and corporate catering in London and Dublin.
With sustainability embedded into their operations, from addressing overproduction issues to pioneering the creative sourcing of surplus and misshaped fruits and vegetables, Fooditude has seamlessly blended innovation with an ambition to combat food waste and reduce its carbon footprint. Most recently, Fooditude efforts were honoured at the Maire Claire Sustainability Awards for food and drink, where they won the award category for ‘carbon footprint’.
Fooditude, pioneers of the catering industry, started their sustainability journey seven years ago when they became a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. It gave them a framework for developing their sustainability policy. In 2019, Fooditude accelerated its sustainability journey with Planet Mark. In their first year of certification, Fooditude made a reduction of 30% in absolute carbon and 31.1% on a per-meal basis.
How Fooditude is addressing food waste and overconsumption
A Data-Driven Approach to Minimising Food Waste
Fooditude addressed its issue with overproduction systematically by measuring and analysing data around its food waste to help standardise portion sizes. They also work closely with their clients to ensure they are catering to correct head counts.
Creative Menu Adaptations: Maximising Ingredient Use
Fooditude sources surplus and misshaped fruit and vegetables for their daily catering menus, adapting menus to use the entirety of the ingredients to produce delicious meals. For example, using parts of vegetables that are otherwise discarded in other recipes – like broccoli stems in stews and using Angry Monk, imperfect fruit & veg provider to help us source rescued fruit and veg to put in our menus.
Community Collaboration: Fooditude’s Partnership with Olio
When exploring how they can tackle food surplus, Fooditude formed a partnership with Olio, a sharing app connecting neighbours and local businesses to share surplus food. OLIO volunteers pick up the food from Fooditude client sites, post it to the OLIO app and coordinate distribution to those who want the food.
Innovative Waste Reduction: The ORCA Machine Solution
Within Fooditude’s kitchens, transparent bins are strategically placed for senior chefs, ensuring that no valuable ingredients go to waste needlessly.
Fooditude also installed an ORCA machine, which breaks down food waste into liquid effluent in 24 hours or less; without the use of grinding or shredding. This innovative approach enables the caterer to dispose of any unavoidable food waste through the sewage system – reducing food waste and eliminating the carbon footprint associated with transporting it to waste management facilities.
Catering for Change
Furthermore, Fooditude adheres strictly to a zero-to-landfill policy, reinforcing its dedication to sustainable waste management. 0% of food waste goes to landfill. Instead, Fooditude manages waste sustainably to create a circular, not linear, lifecycle for materials.
Fooditude is dedicated to continuously reducing food waste. Their strategy includes auditing waste, monitoring client sites, streamlining recording processes, training staff, and identifying “food waste champions.” This commitment aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
- SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
- SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
They are also forming partnerships, establishing a waste hierarchy, and setting measurable targets. They aim for a 15% reduction in food waste by December 2023, with two workshops for kitchen staff and two partner projects underway, and are aiming for a 50% reduction in food waste by 2025.
Fooditude is leading the catering industry, setting an example on World Food Day and every day on how others can address today’s global food challenges. By adopting similar practices and sustainable partnerships, the catering sector can combat food waste with creativity and determination and build a more sustainable future.