Hospitality and food service

The issues

The cost of food being wasted in the UK from the UK hospitality and food service (HaFS) sector is estimated at £3.2 billion per year in 2018.

  • The total amount of waste, including food, packaging and other ‘non-food’ waste, produced each year at HaFS outlets is 2.87 million tonnes, of which 46% is recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion (AD) or composted.
  • Of this, 1.1 million tonnes (updated 2018) of food is wasted at outlets each year, 75% of which is avoidable and could have been eaten
  • 40% of food that is wasted is carbohydrates, including potato, bread, pasta and rice. Reduced wastage in carbohydrates would have a significant impact on the total amount of food being wasted.
  • The amount of food that is wasted each year in the UK is equivalent to 1.3 billion meals, or one in six of the 8 billion meals served each year.
  • On average 21% of food waste arises from spoilage; 45% from food preparation and 34% from consumer plates.
  • 12% of all food waste is recycled.
  • 1.3 million tonnes of packaging and 0.66 million tonnes of other ‘non-food’ wastes are also discarded, that includes items such as disposable kitchen paper and newspapers.
  • 62% of packaging and other ‘non-food’ waste is recycled. The highest level of recycling is for glass and cardboard.
  • 56% of packaging and other ‘non-food’ waste that is thrown away could have been readily recycled.
  • In addition to this a further 130,000 tonnes of food waste is generated from the preparation of ready to serve food items and meals for the HaFS sector, at food manufacturing sites.

Read the full report

What can my organisation do?

To facilitate this change, WRAP manages the Courtauld Commitment 2025 Hospitality and Food Service sector. By working together with your supply chain, clients and consumers, you can take action to contribute to reducing total industry waste and reducing your own organisation's costs.

Target, Measure, Act

Food surplus and waste measurement and reporting guidelines for the Hospitality and Food Service Sector

These guidelines provide additional recommendations for Hospitality and Food Service (HaFS) businesses, based on the specific operational considerations and challenges relevant to this sector, using practical examples, and a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section. They clarify and contextualise the requirements from the UK Guidelines for Measuring and Reporting Food Surplus and Waste (UK Guidelines), for the HaFS sector. It is consistent with the FLW Standard and supports the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.

To measure and report your food waste a data capture sheet and reporting template are available here.

HaFS guidance


Where is your food waste coming from?

Case studies: Our work in action

Harrington Arms - Pub

Gross profit up by 5-6% following 33% reduction in food waste.

Learn more

Crieff Hydro Hotel

Smart savings at Crieff Hydro Hotel

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The Ship Inn

Smaller portions, happier customers - and total waste reduced by 72%

Learn more

Elior - Contract Catering

Seeing is believing when it comes to food thrown away

Learn more

Our resources

By working with WRAP your organisation can improve processes, find new techniques and work towards implementing best practice in your operations.






Case studies