Tackling Food and Packaging Waste in Foodservice

Friday, May 21, 2021

Spotlight on Waste

The 2021 Footprint Sustainability Index in association with Nestlé Professional identifies six top trends and opportunities to help foodservice leaders develop strategy, benchmark good practice and identify issues. This article focuses on waste

Waste focus Nestle Professional & Footprint Media front page of insight brochure

Food and packaging waste in restaurants and other foodservice businesses is a priority not only for increasing efficiency but also for improving sustainability. Discover how the pandemic has changed the approaches to sustainable food packaging and learn more about the solutions available to tackle food waste with our 2021 Footprint Sustainability report.

The pandemic has changed our food packaging waste patterns

The pandemic has caused a change in the way both consumers and businesses approach packaging, with demand for single-use packaging causing more waste. According to our report, some 68% of senior leaders say Covid-19 has increased the use of disposables and food packaging. No wonder, then, that over three-quarters (77%) say tackling disposables and packaging is a priority. 
At the same time, 30% of industry leaders surveyed say food waste has gone up as a result of Covid.

Solutions to combat waste in restaurants and other foodservice businesses


Educating consumers about ‘Best Before’ labels

In early 2021, Nestlé joined food waste fighting initiative Too Good To Go’s ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ campaign to tackle Best Before food waste. As part of the initiative, Nestlé is including ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ labelling on a progressive basis, across key products produced in the UK and Ireland.

“An estimated 180,000 tonnes of food is wasted every year across the UK, the same as nearly 30,000 delivery trucks,” says Stefano Agostini, CEO of Nestlé UK and Ireland. “Much of this is due to confusion over date labelling, therefore it is crucial that food manufacturers and retailers take collaborative action and a consistent approach to helping consumers reduce food waste.”


Using the new plastic packaging tax as an incentive towards more sustainable food packaging

Indeed, finding new and innovative ways to combat food packaging waste will also become increasingly important as new Government measures come into play. For example, according to the 2020 budget, the plastic packaging tax will be introduced from April 2022 and will place a charge on plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content. Additionally, DEFRA has announced it will introduce Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation for packaging by 2023. These measures hope to see a move towards using more sustainable food packaging, but are also a great opportunity for business to recalibrate their own sustainability efforts.


Holistic approach to help prevent food and packaging waste

The report highlights the need for collaboration and innovation across all areas of waste management and waste prevention as companies look to find better solutions. 

“When Nestlé couldn’t find the answer to the question: ‘what is the packaging of the future?’ it established its own Institute of Packaging Sciences to ensure it was set up to achieve the company’s commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025,” says Katya Simmons, MD, Nestlé Professional UK and Ireland

Sustainable food packaging and finding solutions to food waste within the foodservice industry is a long-term journey of continuous improvement towards transformation. And finding new ways to tackle waste, in all its forms, will continue to be an important part of the foodservice industry’s future.

To find out more about how the foodservice industry can tackle waste download the 2021 Footprint Sustainability Index in association with Nestlé Professional here:


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