What is Stand Up for Food Month all about?
Stand Up for Food Month is a public awareness campaign, in September, aimed at reducing the £3 billion in food waste generated by hospitality and food establishments. This was particularly brought into the spotlight when the pandemic caused customers to ‘panic buy’ as you know due to food shortage not everyone had all the necessities needed.
This month focuses on acknowledging and developing changes that could be introduced to ensure less food is being thrown away. Food waste will be targeted, measured, and acted upon at the UK’s busiest pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants and so forth. From managers to kitchen employees, everyone should make sure the prevention of food waste is a top priority and that they can track and reduce food waste in all operations.
“Food waste isn’t considered a problem because, for the most part, it isn’t considered at all. It’s easy to ignore because it’s both common and customary… many aren’t convinced that it’s important”.
The UK Hospitality and Food Service industry (HaFS) throws away 1 million tonnes of food per year, this is equivalent to wasting one in every 6 meals. If this doesn’t show you how much of an issue this is, I don’t know what will. 35% of Brits admitted to not finishing their food the last time they ate out (Groupon, 2017). According to the report, the average Brit spends £80.21 on unfinished food each year, totalling almost £4billion. Also, 27% of participants said they were too embarrassed to ask for a takeaway/ doggy bag. This displays the magnitude that food wastage has on this country.
To give more of an insight, this is just some ways in which food is wasted:
- Food disposed of during preparation.
- Food out of date or damaged.
- Food not finished by customers, resulting in it being thrown away.
- Food thrown away due to excessive amounts e.g., buffets.
It’s important to state that it’s not only food establishments that are a part of the problem, but we are also all guilty of wasting food and therefore we all need to do more to reduce this and help the environment.
There are various ways that we can help tackle this issue. Firstly, stop over-buying! WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) recommends snapping a ‘shelfie’ of your fridge and cupboards to remind you of what you have. This way you won’t purchase what you don’t need and it’s also a great way to save money. Secondly, plan your meals ahead of time. By doing this you’ll know what ingredients you need and therefore won’t buy random groceries ‘on a limb’. Additionally, always check use-by-dates! It is well-known that fresh food goes off very quickly, as a result only buy what you can use before it expires. Lastly, your freezer should be full to the brim. Freezers are great for preserving food, so what’s the point of throwing away the leftovers when you can have them for a week. Sounds good to me.
“Imagine walking out of a grocery store with four bags of groceries, dropping one in the parking lot, and just not bothering to pick it up. That’s essentially what we’re doing”.Dan Gunders
There are already some major companies on board with the scheme including Pizza Hut, Compass Group UK, Deliveroo, Too Good To Go and Unilever Food Solutions. We’ve still got a long way to go, but basically being told to eat more and waste less sounds easy enough. Wouldn’t you agree?