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Report reveals insights into food waste from food-to-go sector

Posted: 9 September 2020 | | No comments yet

The report, from Too Good To Go, suggested that food-to-go employees care about food waste but do not have the tools or training to tackle it.

food waste in sandwich shop

Food app Too Good To Go has launched a report that details new insight into food waste in the UK food-to-go sector. 

The report, which analyses survey responses from employees in the sector as well as consumer behaviour, found that nine out of 10 employees are negatively impacted by how much food their business wastes on a daily basis. Emotions such as frustration, guilt, sadness and anger were all identified as being felt when food is wasted, with disappointment felt the most – by half (49 percent) of all employees surveyed. 

Despite this concern, business operations are not set up to tackle the issue, according to the report. Of employees surveyed, under half (46 percent) said their business has operations guidelines or documents that detail best practices for dealing with and reducing food waste and 45 percent stated that they receive sustainability awareness or employee sessions on the issue.

When asked about the reasons in their business, one third of respondents (36 percent) stated that poor stock management was to blame. However, the survey also found that almost two thirds of businesses (60 percent) do not have a stock management process in place to reduce waste.

“It is clear that employees in the food-to-go sector are becoming more aware of the issue of food waste in their business – more than eight in 10 employees in the sector are aware of how much food their business wastes on a daily basis. And the negative impact this is having on employee wellbeing is a cause for concern,” said Jamie Crummie, co-founder of Too Good To Go.

“There also remains a stark knowledge gap in the impact of food waste. Over a third of employees are still not aware of the environmental impact of throwing away food. With sustainability rising up the agenda for employees and consumers, it is vital for food-to-go businesses to step up and ensure that they’re actively playing a role to reduce food waste.”

Other report findings include:

  • 84 percent UK food-to-go employees are very aware of how much food is wasted in their business each day
  • Almost two thirds (61 percent) of food-to-go sector employees think food waste should be minimised to help the environment
  • Employees ages 16-24 are more concerned about helping the environment than those aged 45-54 ( 89 percent as opposed to 43 percent)
  • Employees report one third (33 percent) of businesses in the food-to-go sector use apps
  • Fruit and veg is the most wasted food type in the sector, with over half employees stating it is the most likely to be wasted in their business (57 percent)
  • Unpredictable fluctuations in customer footfall is the main reason in the food-to-go sector (48 percent)
  • There is concern amongst employees in the food-to-go sector of how much food is wasted:
    • 64 percent on an environmental level
    • 62 percent on a financial level
    • 52 percent on a social level
  • 51 percent of food-to-go businesses have seen a decrease in levels post COVID-19 lockdown
  • Over a quarter (26 percent) have seen levels increase since the lockdown has eased
  • A third (33 percent) businesses saw an increase levels during the lockdown
  • Half (53 percent) of the employees who participated in the research said their business currently uses technology to reduce food waste.

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