Reducing Food Waste When Catering For Large Groups

Reducing Food Waste When Catering For Large Groups

Every year, approximately 6.7 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK. Apart from resulting in a cost of nearly £10.2 billion each year, food waste also has an adverse effect on the environment. There are also enormous environmental costs associated with food waste.  Apart from an immense amount of water being wasted, wasting food also increases greenhouse gas emissions which is extremely detrimental to the environment. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to minimise your waste when preparing food for a large group of people.  

Avoid over-buying and over-preparing

One of the easiest ways to avoid food waste is to stop over-buying and over-prepping. You can, for the most part, eliminate both of these through effective meal planning.  Calculate exactly how many portions of food you need to prepare and, at most, make two or three extra in case of an emergency. Make a highly detailed list of all the ingredients you will require and check your current stock levels before placing any orders. Don’t be tempted to buy any ingredient in bulk at a discounted rate unless you are one hundred percent sure you will use all of it before the expiration date. Unfortunately, the chances of any unnecessary purchases ending up on the landfill site are very good.

Compost what you can

Another effective method to limit wastage is through composting.  In fact, households, restaurants, and catering companies can all compost a large portion of their food waste to decrease the amount of waste that gets sent to the landfill.  Although not all food items can be composted, fresh fruit and vegetables, eggshells, and coffee grounds all make wonderful additions to your compost heap.  Homemade compost can be used with great success to enrich the soil in a fruit or vegetable garden. It can also be used as an organic fertiliser in any flowerbeds you may have. How big or small your compost heap is, is entirely up to you. You can even divide and distribute your organic food waste among your staff members to encourage them to start their own vegetable gardens at home.

Always store food correctly

If food is not stored correctly, it is bound to spoil and end up in the landfill.  When preparing to cater for an event, ensure that all food items are stored correctly. Double-check to make sure that fridges and freezers are working properly and remember to store your high-risk food items on the lowest shelves. Store fresh fruit and vegetables in suitable containers and regularly rotate all the food in your fridges.  Avoid cross-contamination between any raw meat (and poultry in particular) and cooked items and don’t ever leave any frozen items to defrost on a counter or in a basin overnight. Although expiration dates do not pinpoint the exact day a food item will spoil, it is in everyone’s best interest to attempt to use an item as long before the expiry date as possible.

Food waste is a growing concern in the UK. Luckily, there are many ways a catering concern can reduce the amount of food waste that is sent to the landfill every year.


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