Hospitality and Food Services
Nearly 75% of all food that is thrown out by the UK’s Hospitality and Food Service Sector is food that could have been eaten. The value of this food waste costs the sector £2.9 billion a year with an average saving of £10,000 per outlet to be made by identifying where food is wasted and implementing low or no cost measures. These eye-opening figures demonstrate the huge problem that the TRiFOCAL London project worked to address by focusing on three key areas – healthy sustainable eating, preventing food waste and recycling inedible food waste.
The €3.2million TRiFOCAL project spanned over three years and was funded by the LIFE programme of the European Union. Delivered by project partners WRAP, the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and Groundwork London, the project started in 2016 with the delivery in London running until October 2019. Learnings from London were shared with European cities as part of its replication programme. TRiFOCAL focused on 4 audiences: householders, businesses, communities and schools.
Throughout the duration of the project we worked with leading businesses to pioneer and cascade good practice and knowledge across London to the different audiences by establishing:
- Best practice food mentor businesses to demonstrate savings and reinforce the business case for change.
- A London-wide working group of businesses to encourage and embed change on the ground.
The main delivery mechanism for this activity was the Your Business is Food - Don't Throw it Away toolkit which is a simple business-focused toolkit with a proven track record. The resources in the toolkit help businesses to measure and monitor the food thrown away, get their teams on board and make an action plan to reduce the amount of food thrown away, thereby saving money and boosting profits.
TRiFOCAL also highlighted the benefits and practicalities of ‘Your Business is Food, don’t throw it away’ from an environmental health practitioner’s perspective, demonstrating how food waste prevention measures can be combined with food safety messages. Training videos to inform and empower food safety professionals to speak about food waste issues with the businesses they work with are available on the TRiFOCAL resource bank.
Achieving the goals of sustainable food consumption is a complex social problem. Approaches such as the Collective Impact approach argue that no single policy, government department, organisation or programme can tackle or solve such increasingly complex social problems. Instead, organisations need to adopt a common agenda, shared measurement and alignment of effort, supported by centralised infrastructure that facilitates the shift from acting alone to acting in concert. In this context, the TRiFOCAL project played the role of the backbone organisation, supporting project partners and stakeholders in shifting towards sustainable food systems in cities. See our business approach case study for more details.
Drawing on the collective impact methodology, TRiFOCAL brought together a wide range of stakeholders working in different aspects of food and food waste in London including charities, restaurants, food businesses, bloggers, health advocates and educationalists. For many participants, the TRiFOCAL business working group provided the unique opportunity to network with organisations that they would not normally encounter. See our business approach case study for more details.
TRiFOCAL’s engagement with businesses had two key objectives:
Influence businesses to change their behaviour by:
- Understanding existing food habits on site and recording change, primarily by encouraging businesses to use the toolkit ‘Your Business is Food, don’t throw it away’.
- Targeting businesses to lead the change in food service staff behaviour (reducing preparation and spoilage waste, redistribution)
- To underpin this work, TRiFOCAL created a London based Business Working Group to develop a group of industry leaders to pioneer and cascade good practice in London. Members of the Business Working Group piloted the communications materials developed by TRiFOCAL and businesses were encouraged to pledge practical actions to encourage and embed change. See the pledges on our champions and ambassadors wall.
- Developing case studies to demonstrate savings and reinforce the business case.
Influence consumers to change their behaviour, via business engagement by:
- Targeting businesses to change the behaviour of their own food service catering staff
- Using messaging and materials which lead to the change in customer / consumer behaviour (plate waste reduction, raising awareness)
- Reaching employees who are London householders via engagement with large employers.
The project utilised a test, analyse and adapt model, where necessary changes/adaptions could be applied as progress was made in three delivery waves. Robust monitoring and evaluation was set up and the relevant baselines established to measure the impact of the project. The impact of the communications was evaluated through a variety of means, including waste compositional analysis to assess changes in the amount of good food thrown away and food waste recycling rates. Changes in levels of awareness around the food-centric behaviours were measured through surveys and focus groups after the main delivery waves.
Learnings from TRiFOCAL are used to improve the effectiveness of the campaign and are shared with the EU replication cities. The London pilot also benefited from reciprocal exchange of knowledge/learnings as the replication cities adapted and delivered localised versions of the campaign.
The intended outcome of the project was to encourage positive behaviour change not just in London, but also within the European replication cities.
The results of the project are detailed in the project summary report.
We can note the following positive impacts:
- 140 organisations have attended at least 1 TRiFOCAL event
- 109 pledges were made by participants at the TRiFOCAL Business Working Group
- 48 influencers engaged
- 28 champions and ambassadors who promoted the campaign shared materials and encouraged action within their own business
- The TRiFOCAL resource bank is a virtual resource centre for stakeholders to easily find and share information about innovative new approaches to behaviour change that aim to prevent food waste, encourage recycling of inedible food and promote healthy sustainable eating
- TRiFOCAL is referenced in two strategies published by the Mayor of London and the the London Environment Strategy and the London Food Strategy.
By combining messaging on food waste with healthy sustainable eating in a comprehensive high impact campaign across time and place, TRiFOCAL aimed to encourage sustainable food systems in cities.
The hospitality and food service sector in particular offers opportunities to reduce food waste, increase recycling of inedible food, and encourage a move towards sustainable consumption through healthy sustainable eating, drawing on existing tools and resources to demonstrate savings and reinforce the business case. Through this approach, TRiFOCAL was able to create a strong, evidence-based model for other cities to replicate.