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New Guides to Help Restaurants Reduce Food Waste

February 6, 2018

National Restaurant Association - February 6, 2018

ReFED, a nonprofit committed to reducing food waste in the United States, and the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, of which the National Restaurant Association is a founding member, released two guides to help our industry implement strategies and best practices to cut food waste.

ReFED and the FWRA partnered to release the guides Feb. 6. The guides focus on helping companies work towards meeting the national goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030. They created the guides with input from more than 80 expert contributors, including onsite foodservice companies Compass Group; Aramark; Sodexo; Delaware North, and numerous restaurant brands around the country. The result is a series of best practices, strategies and proven prevention, recovery and recycling solutions that could help prioritize and accelerate waste reduction activities.

The guides build on ReFED’s 2016 report, “A Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste by 20 Percent,” an analysis of U.S. food waste and the solutions offered to decrease it. Laura Abshire, director of sustainability policy and FWRA liaison, said the FWRA was pleased to partner with ReFED to help restaurant and foodservice companies reduce waste at their operations. The FWRA, founded in 2011, helps food companies share insights and develop best practices to decrease the amount of waste created. “Food waste reduction is an increasingly important area of opportunity and action for the restaurant and foodservice industry,” Abshire said. “These guides will help operators utilize new tools, strategies, and solutions to reduce [their] food waste.”

The NRA is committed to educating members about environmental sustainability. The two guides will augment those efforts.

Here are some key findings:

  • The United States wastes 63 million tons of food annually, the equivalent of $218 billion.
  • Implementing prevention solutions are the most cost effective way to reduce to reduce food waste and could decrease the amount created annually at foodservice and restaurant operations by 600,000 and 400,000 tons, respectively.
  • Reducing food waste saves costs, increases food security, spurs economic growth and creates local jobs.

Chris Cochran, ReFED’s executive director, also said the organization would begin working with companies to help put solutions into action this year. “Food waste reduction is quickly becoming a key element of financial and reputational value for restaurants and foodservice providers,” he said.

Learn about sustainability solutions for the restaurant industry with the NRA’s Conserve program