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How to reduce food waste (from the perspective of merchants and restaurateurs)

05.10.2021

Significant amounts of food are produced but not consumed by humans. Food is wasted throughout the chain to the final consumer - on farms, in production, in shops, restaurants and bars. Learn how to reduce food waste in your organization.  

How to reduce food waste

Significant amounts of food are produced but not consumed by humans. Food is wasted throughout the chain to the final consumer - on farms, in production, in shops, restaurants and bars. In this article you will learn how you can reduce food waste in your business.

Measure the amount of food waste in your organization, otherwise there is no way to manage losses. For example, by applying expiration tracking technologies or food stock tracking - such as business management software with solutions to track product stocks and dates. Such systems help to eliminate losses from expired products. The use of CRM software will ensure the high quality of your products and will help you to improve the user experience of your customers.

Embrace "imperfect" produce - The most trivial reason for grocery waste in grocery stores is that many fruits and vegetables that look a little weird or warped are thrown away before they even reach the store. Given consumers' growing concerns about food waste, it is not a bad idea to invest in creating a new local market for 'not-so-good-looking fruits and vegetables'. For example, encourage your customers to buy "ugly or imperfect products" and thus get involved in the global campaign to reduce food waste. You can sell these products at promotional prices.

Whenever possible, consider composting. Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants. 

Composting

Give back to the community: recover and redistribute surplus food to feed people. Work with nonprofit partners to improve and expand your efforts to donate food. You’ll enhance your community impact and feed hungry people in your area.

Improve transparency and agility within your supply chain 
→ greater flexibility on deliveries and last-minute order changes
→ better control over costs and over waste
Eg: One store might find that their candy bars are selling out too quickly, but the fresh vegetables just aren’t moving. If they have a good relationship with their supplier, they can adjust their order and make sure those veggies don’t go to waste.

Forge an internal food waste prevention culture. Education and cross-functional teamwork will help you shift the status quo at your company.
Organize a regular training for your employees on food waste – make sure everybody is made aware. 
Empower one of your employees with the role of a food waste ambassador, who should follow, among others, interesting events related to the sector they operate in. 

For example, restaurants can:
Include older foods in their daily offerings
Encourage customers to order smaller quantities or share food
Conduct information campaigns to inform customers that the food business is involved in the fight against food waste
Encourage customers to take leftovers with them

Encourage customers to take leftovers with them

Investigate your local context
Partner with local farmers in the supply chain.
Find local food banks and organizations that help people in need or shelters
Explore applications to save excess food and related initiatives
Check local composting options
Explore local disposal options
Follow local podcasts for sustainable development
Follow the activities of local organizations on Facebook and Instagram (For example, Foodobox, Zero waste Bulgaria, Zero waste Sofia, Zero waste - Bulgaria, Blagichka - Zero Waste, etc.)

Stop Food Waste

Get creative! Make simple videos on an attractive content visible on your social media/app and spread the word! Eg. Why not through a partnerships with local influencers who are ambassadors on some real sustainable topics?

Learn more about why food waste is a problem in the article here.