Less waste in the out-of-home catering sector…

Less waste in the out-of-home catering sector…

The Dutch have high ambitions when it comes to reducing food waste: no less than a 20 % reduction between now and 2015! To be able to accurately evaluate this objective, however, a clearer picture of the present situation is needed. The university research centre Wageningen UR therefore did a study of the out-of-home catering sector …

Monitoring and improvements

In collaboration with the ‘Sustainable Food’ Platform, the association VENECA and 9 of its members (accounting for 95 % of the market), Wageningen UR carried out a research project in order to obtain empirical data on food waste and its drivers in the out-of-home catering sector in the Netherlands. Precise and detailed statistics on waste in all food classes were thus collected in 200 catering locations. The study ultimately demonstrated that the foods contributing most to food waste are:

• soup: 34 % of the total of discarded products;

• salad bars: 17 %;

• bakery products: 12 %;

• dairy products: 6 %.

The main causes identified include the estimation of the number of guests, the 2-hour standard for products left exposed to the air (hygiene code), adaptation of the assortment to match consumer preferences.

Having been made aware of the major bottlenecks, 25 establishments participated in a pilot project to test the results of a better calculation of the quantities offered as a function of their guests on food wastes.

A better future for the out-of-home catering sector?

This research project made it possible to better identify the causes of food waste and potential improvement measures. It also constitutes an example of transparency for other actors in the out-of-home catering sector. The later improvements will notably seek to better adjust the assortment, to accept that some products are sometimes no longer available, to optimise the resupply strategies, to produce on demand as far as possible, and to further raise the awareness of both catering personnel and consumers.

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