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Managing food waste in the hospitality industry

Food waste 1
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Spring has hit the hospitality industry and there’s an abundance of beautiful Australian produce at our fingertips. Delicious strawberries are popping up everywhere, and asparagus seems to be on everyone’s menu. It goes without saying that Spring is a great season for us foodies.

Whilst we are enjoying the great weather and natures incredible gifts, we are also throwing an enormous amount of this wonderful food in the bin, consequently, over 5 million tonnes of food ends up in landfill in Australia alone! The Australian Government estimates food waste costs our economy $20 billion each year. The hospitality industry has some big changes to make in order to reduce their waste.

It is estimated that in Australia only 10% of food waste is actually composted, which leaves an enormous amount of food heading straight to landfill.

Why is so much food wasted?

Much of the wasted food here in Australia is a result of us all buying too much. It’s as simple as that. We’re putting too much into our trolleys, resulting in us throwing lots of food away before heading back to the supermarket. With 345kg of food waste per household, every year, Australia is almost top of the list when it comes to world household waste.

The hospitality industry is also guilty of generating an enormous amount of food waste. Even with modern storage techniques, we still bin 5% of food because of spoilage. Restaurants are creating menus with an abundance of ingredients. Most of these ingredients use staggering amounts of energy and water to produce, and yet 65% of food waste is lost in preparation.

‘Throwing away one burger wastes the same amount of water as a 90-minute shower’ -Oz Harvest

The environmental impacts of food waste

Most importantly, by wasting so much food, the hospitality industry is also guilty of wasting the resources used to produce it. The energy used from growing, through harvesting, transporting, processing, packaging and distributing is thrown in to landfill alongside everything else. That’s a pretty shocking thought isn’t it!

‘A survey of restaurants found that 65% of food waste was lost during preparation, while 30% was the result of the customers leaving food on their plate, and 5% was due to food spoilage’ – Love Food Hate Waste


What can the hospitality industry do?

  • Businesses must to make food waste a priority and ensure management are involved and leading the way forward.
  • Introduce waste management training. Educate staff to a high level on the impact waste has on the future of food.
  • Choose trained staff members to create an environmental group. Incorporate their policies and ideas into all staff training and new staff briefings.
  • Make a food waste programme a priority at your restaurant.
  • Learn how to create renewable energy out of your food waste.
  • Alter serving sizes and garnishes to reduce food returning to the kitchen.
  • Donate all fresh food waste to food charities.
  • Compost.

Almost half of all fruit and vegetables produced worldwide, are wasted (that’s 3.7 trillion apples) – Oz Harvest 

By decreasing the amount of food that is wasted in the hospitality industry we will not only make a positive impact on Global Warming, we’ll also save money!  Studies show that businesses who train their staff in correct waste management and properly manage their purchasing, save money! Over purchasing will become a thing of the past and empty plates will bring even more joy than ever before.



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