The Issue

Food waste is a serious problem. For every meal eaten in a UK restaurant, nearly half a kilo of food is wasted – through preparation, spoilage and what’s left behind on the plate.

UK hospitality alone wastes nearly 1 million tonnes of edible food per year.

During COVID-19

Takeaway restaurants remain open, but consumption patterns have most certainly changed. Unpredictable demand, amongst other factors, has led to an increase in food waste.

Takeaway operators surveyed reported throwing away £148 worth of food per week since lockdown began, compared to £111 in December 2019. This has cost the sector £16.7m during lockdown.

Working with Just Eat, we have created specific guidelines for restaurants who may be experiencing an increase in food waste and are serious about fighting it. Our toolkit can be found here.

Consumer Toolkit

Restaurant Toolkit

Food waste redistribution

Our survey results revealed…

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Of businesses reported fluctuations in demand


Of businesses reported disruptions to supply chains


Of businesses reported disruptions to business models

Actions for restaurants


  • Manage your stock to ensure you are using the oldest produce first – remember to think ‘FIFO’ (first in first out)
  • Add dates to your food so you always know how fresh your produce is
  • Offer special deals on dishes that use food close to its use-by date
  • Monitor your appliances to ensure your fridges and freezers are the correct temperatures
  • Ordering and deliveries: speak to your suppliers and ask about ordering less, with more frequent deliveries


  • Serve food skin-on where possible e.g. skin-on chips
  • Only trim what’s essential when preparing your fruit, veg, fish, and meat
  • Create your own waste-free dishes – this burger is made from juice pulp

Too much good food?

  • Avoid leftovers by preparing your meals, and ordering ingredients, in line with how much usually sells of each dish. This will be tricky during and after lockdown, but monitoring sales may help you spot patterns in demand.
  • Reuse excess ingredients – regularly wasted food could be used in other dishes or to create a brand new one
  • Donate surplus food to causes or charities. We have our own food redistribution resource available here. 

Don’t forget your customer

Before COVID customers reported wasting 9% of food – just as the recent research found that customers were saving. To help:
  • Reduce portion sizes of commonly wasted ingredients
  • Consider using smaller plates when serving food
  • Provide tips on how to store and reuse leftovers on leaflets and packaging (we have created some great leftover recipes which you can see here
  • Ask your customers if they would like extras rather than offering them as standard

Food Waste Bad Taste

Food Waste Bad Taste is a 6-week online programme supporting hospitality businesses across the country to Target, Measure and Act on food waste in their business, as per WRAP’s latest framework, with our guidance.

The programme provides a collection of materials, tips and guidance to help your business reduce its carbon footprint, save money and contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 – cutting global food waste by 50% by 2030.

The next cohort begins on 23 March 2020 – spaces are limited to businesses with 250+ employees


Join the next cohort

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We were supported every step of the way, literally taken by the hand through each week. The online community was a great help to bounce ideas and concerns off other members participating in the campaign. Food Waste Bad Taste gave us the tools and resources to kick start us into action.

Aine Mulligan


Reduce your Food Waste

Enquire about Food Waste Bad Taste

Enquire today

Find out more about Food Waste Bad Taste

Read more about the programme in this information pack



Past Food Waste Work


Too Good To Waste

We’re throwing out a whopping 600,000 tonnes of food waste from restaurants every year, most of it filling up scarce landfill space. As well as the cost to the environment, this waste is costing us – restaurants and diners – a fortune.

The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) launched Too Good To Waste on October 5 2011, with the aim of raising both consumer and industry awareness about the appalling scale of restaurant food waste, alongside offering viable alternatives for diners and restaurants: it introduces diners to the ‘doggy box’, making it not just acceptable, but positive for diners to ask to take their leftover food home.

The campaign coordinated restaurant action by providing simple advice on how to reduce food waste, including prep waste and spoilage, and supplying doggy boxes for restaurants to box up, rather than bin leftovers. All of the free boxes were used up, but you can purchase Too Good To Waste branded boxes from London Bio Packaging.

Read the report

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fight food waste for free

If you’re a member, you can take part in Food Waste Bad Taste for free, just email us.

Join today

and fight food waste for free

Enquire about membership

If you’re a food service business looking for help with food waste reduction targets or a company that supplies hospitality with food waste solutions, we want to hear from you.

Join today