Following the launch of The People’s Fridge in Brixton, the community fridge to avoid food waste which you can read about here, we thought we’d talk about food waste in the events industry, what it is and how to achieve it.
Food waste is a large problem in the UK and we hear about it often in a bid to encourage us to buy less food and only buy what we know our household will eat, to avoid throwing perfectly good food away. But what about the events industry? The majority of events include either catering during the event or they have food organised prior to the event for serving during. An event without sustenance is not successful! Food waste as a problem for the events industry is best illustrated by the amount of food thrown away during the clean-up of venues post-event, at almost every event due to overestimation and under-eating.
To prevent food waste, you can order less food than normal, knowing full well there are usually leftovers. You can also order ‘ugly’ food and plate out the canapes that aren’t perfect and uniform – we promise you that people won’t notice and the less perfect food won’t have to go to waste! Better yet, before ordering any food, ask your guests their dietary requirements – the more needs and taste buds you can satisfy, the more chance you have that people will eat the food and the less food will go to waste. During the event, ensure that the caterers do not uncover all the food at once but in sections so that the food won’t spoil and leftovers are still good to be eaten!
If you’ve taken the necessary steps to reduce food waste then you have saved money and food and have already done half the job! Now we can talk about what to do when you’ve done all you can do and still have surplus food. Firstly, donate the food! Go to a shelter, a soup kitchen or somewhere like The People’s Fridge to donate the food to a place where it will be kept, managed, and easy for people who need it to access it. Secondly, if the food is unsafe to donate then use it for compost! Whether you have a compost bin or know someone who does, this food will go back into the soil rather than going to waste!