Food waste is an important area to consider when it comes to sustainable catering. Partly, this is because the emissions related to food waste are both high and unnecessary. Each year, an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food gets wasted globally. In fact, according to the President of Germany’s Federal Environment Agency Maria Krautzberger, if food waste was a country it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. In Germany alone, food waste accounts for some 4% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
The second reason that food waste is such an important topic is that it is one where simple solutions are easily available. Individuals can lower household foodwaste levels by purchasing less, ensuring they use up leftovers and ensuring that food is stored better. Restaurants, canteens and catering companies can also reduce their waste levels, either by monitoring what is wasted and purchasing less of it or redistributing leftover food to food banks and other social schemes.
In the INNOCAT Best Practice Report on School Catering, we found numerous examples of school canteens doing just this. From systems where pupils ordered food in advance to ensure more accurate amounts were prepared to canteens providing discount meals for socially disadvantaged individuals, schools across Europe are stepping up and addressing the challenge of food waste head on.