Food Waste in the Workplace: How can your business reduce it?

published Jul 04, 2023
2 min read

Addressing the issue of food waste is crucial for businesses due to its environmental impact, financial implications, and the growing demand from consumers for sustainable and socially responsible practices.

By taking proactive measures to reduce food waste, businesses can not only make a positive impact but also unlock financial savings and enhance their brand reputation.

In this article, Workplace Refreshments share their insight into workplace food waste, and how your business can tackle it.

The Impact of Food Waste in the Workplace 

The impact of food waste in the workplace extends beyond the immediate loss of food. It has significant consequences for both the environment and the business.

Environmental Consequences 

Decomposing food waste contributes to climate change. As it breaks down, it creates methane. This is a potent greenhouse gas that is second only to carbon dioxide in its role in climate change.

Food waste also leads to wasted resources. Firstly, it wastes the resources used to produce the food. Secondly, dealing with food waste uses up further resources that would not have been needed if the food had been eaten.

It’s also worth noting that food waste can be a lure for vermin. This can lead to further environmental (and public health) consequences.

Business Consequences 

When food is wasted, the money spent on purchasing, storing and preparing it is essentially thrown away. Moreover, businesses incur additional costs for waste management, including collection, transportation and disposal. By actively reducing food waste, businesses can improve their bottom line and redirect those funds towards more productive endeavours.

Food waste can also negatively impact a business’s reputation and customer perception. In today’s socially conscious landscape, consumers increasingly value sustainability and ethical practices.

Benefits of Reducing Food Waste as a Business 

Essentially, the benefits of reducing food waste as a business are the opposite of the issues it causes. Businesses that eliminate (or at least minimise) food waste help the environment, make better use of their business funds and develop a stronger brand image. 

To set this last point in context, businesses generally recognise the value of marketing. They will usually commit as much budget as they reasonably can to it, even when money is tight. In fact, some businesses prioritise marketing especially when money is tight.

Realistically, this money is likely to be wasted if consumers become aware that a business is not committed to sustainability. By contrast, if it is, any money spent on achieving those goals can be considered to be contributing to marketing goals.

Ways to Prevent Food Waste in the Workplace 

Here are five ways businesses can prevent food waste in the workplace. 

Measuring and Planning 

Accurate wholesale order management ensures that businesses order an appropriate stock of ingredients and supplies, minimising the risk of overstocking and subsequent waste. 

Businesses can use historical data to forecast demand accurately. Suppliers are often able to help with this as they will have records of what has been purchased and when.

Additionally, it makes sense to use inventory-tracking software to monitor stock levels in real time. This can be combined with automatic reordering systems for simpler administration.

Proper Portion Control 

Proper portion control is a vital strategy for reducing food waste in the workplace. Businesses can start by training their staff on portion sizes and techniques to ensure consistency and minimise excess servings. This training can include guidelines on appropriate portioning and the use of measuring tools to maintain accuracy.

Businesses should also closely observe the quantities of food being served. This ongoing monitoring allows for the continual optimisation of portion sizes and reduces the likelihood of leftover food. 

Creative Use of Food 

Repurposing food scraps and leftovers can help businesses utilise ingredients that might otherwise be discarded. By implementing creative cooking techniques or incorporating them into new menu items, businesses can minimise waste and provide unique culinary offerings to their customers.

Donation and Collaboration 

Partnering with local charities and food banks enables businesses to donate excess food that is still safe for consumption. Establishing relationships with food waste reduction organisations provides additional support and guidance on waste management strategies, ensuring a more sustainable approach to handling surplus food. 

Staff Awareness and Engagement 

Providing education and training on food waste reduction empowers employees to make conscious decisions and take action to minimise waste in their daily activities. Encouraging employee involvement and ideas fosters a culture of waste reduction and innovation, where staff members contribute their insights and suggestions to improve practices.