Last week, Copper’s John Twitchen chaired an online webinar hosted by FootprintTV on the subject of Sustainability and Waste Denial. The hour long feature highlighted a range of food waste problems and explored what tools are available to the food supply and catering sector to help deal with these issues. Underpinning the discussion was how to engage the various parts of the sector with good practice for tackling the problem of food waste. A poll during the live webcast showed chefs hold the key to kitchen efficiency.
Experts from a range of organisations contributed their opinions, including
- Dr Richard Swannell – Director of Design and Waste Prevention, WRAP
- Baroness Scott of Needham Market – Chair of EU Select Committee Energy, Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries, House of Lords
- Mike Hanson – Head of Sustainable Business, BaxterStorey
- Vance Fairman-Smith – Head of Supply Chain & Purchasing, Spirit Pub Company
- Inder Poonaji – Head of Sustainability, Nestle S.A.
The speakers reflected on the social benefits of preventing food waste, such as redistribution of food to local homelessness charities, as well as the direct benefits to businesses such as financial savings – one report found, on average, savings of £10k per year could be made if food service outlets made improvements to reducing their waste.
The speakers highlighted that industry is starting to look ‘beyond waste’, and use innovation and collaboration to design food products that minimise waste throughout the supply chain, such as innovative packaging.
Overall, the discussions showed that dealing with food waste is often perceived as ‘hassle’, but is in fact a huge opportunity to reduce costs and add to tight margins in a competitive market. The key message of the webinar is that it must be about making waste reduction simple and accessible for consumers.