More than 1.3 billion meals wasted annually in UK hospitality and food sector


A new WRAP report has found that £2.5 billion of food is wasted each year by the UK hospitality and food sector.

The report, Overview of waste in the UK Hospitality and Food Service Sector predicts this could rise to over £3 billion by 2016 unless steps are taken to prevent food being wasted.


WRAP programme manager hospitality and food service Charlotte Henderson said: “Although the headline figures are large, there are significant opportunities across the whole of the hospitality and food service sector to reduce costs by tackling food waste.

“WRAP’s report outlines steps that will empower industry to tackle this problem, by wasting less and recycling more. When you consider the average annual cost per outlet is an estimated £10,000, it makes business sense to save money by reducing food waste.”

The report details waste produced in each of the nine subsectors including restaurants, quick service restaurants, hotels, pubs, leisure, healthcare, education, staff catering and services. It includes a breakdown of the type of food being wasted, as well as the cost of this food waste for each subsector.

Key findings in the report include:

  • The total annual waste including food, packaging and other non-foods produced across the sector is 2.87 million tonnes. Of this, 46 per cent is recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion or composted
  • Total food waste accounts for 920,000 tonnes of this overall figure, the equivalent to 1.3 billion meals or one in six of the 8 billion meals served annually by the sector
  • 75 per cent of all food wasted was avoidable and could have been eaten. Food waste generally arises from three main areas – 21 per cent due to spoilage, 45 per cent from food preparation and 34 per cent from consumer plates.
  • The estimated cost of a tonne of food waste is £2,800.