Reducing Costs and Avoiding Food Waste - Savings Potential in the Swiss Catering Industry

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With simple measures, costs associated with food waste can be noticeably reduced or even halved. This is the conclusion of a team from the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH), which conducted a study in collaboration with the industry network United Against Waste (UAW).

Around 13% of the food waste generated in Switzerland is produced in the catering industry. At the same time, each kilogram of food waste costs the polluter 24 francs. A group of researchers and students led by BFH professor Marie Brechbühler found this out in a study in collaboration with UAW. They examined the costs of food waste along the food preparation phases. While unprocessed food hardly ever disappears in the garbage can, food waste increases many times over during processing and consumption.

Food Save, i.e. the reduction of food waste, can save a lot of money. Katja Lemmler from Sunstar Hotels confirms this: "The results of the study do not surprise me. The costs of food waste are too often underestimated and should therefore receive more attention. We have already been able to greatly reduce our food waste with simple measures and save costs in the process." Sunstar Hotels has been committed to Food Save since 2016. Back then, it had started with UAW coaching, today Food Save is a philosophy of the hotel group.

Researchers and practitioners recommend measures that directly address processing and consumption. The most effective method is to raise awareness among the kitchen team and guests. Becoming aware of the problem promotes respectful food handling. In addition, reducing the size of the menu and portion sizes is recommended. In this way, waste from overproduction and plate returns can be successfully prevented.