The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) outlined 13 initiatives that companies could take to make headway towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals target of halving food waste by 2030. Among them, some are bold written as they can be addressed to the catering sector:
BCG estimates that these initiatives will also be good for the businesses that adopt them. Overall, they would reduce food waste by $700 billion a year.
The exact amount of food wasted by the tourism and hospitality sectors is unknown, but it is estimated that hotels, restaurants and catering services are responsible for about 14% of the total food wasted in the European Union.
In absolute terms, 14% represents about 12 million tons of food wasted each year, or between 12 and 28kg of food wasted per capita per annum in the 27 EU Member States.The food service industry wastes more food than the wholesale, retail and production sectors, respectively.
Food waste represents 46% of the total waste produced in US hotels. According to a more recent estimate, restaurants generate 33% of the total food waste in the US, while a study regarding waste in a hotel in Bangkok demonstrates an astonishing 1.3 ton of edible food wasted in one single week.
It is currently not known, however, which fraction of the hospitality-generated food waste is caused by tourism. One reason for this information not being available is that tourism-related food consumption and its environmental implications have not been extensively researched to date.
What is known, in a global way, is that tourists consume more food than they would at home and eat more imported food than at home, thus increasing the tourism-related environmental impact on the destinations. Given that food consumption is a key tourist experience, it is likely that tourists try different types of food and do not like some of them, which leads to more food waste than at home.