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Unlock Significant Financial Value by Reducing Food Waste, Says ReFED (and These Guides May Help)

The four largest US foodservice providers, among others, have worked create action guides that are meant to help restaurants and others in the food industry to reduce food waste – and reducing such waste can unlock significant value for restaurants, the groups say. Compass Group, Aramark, Sodexo, and Delaware North, along with more than 80 other contributors, worked with nonprofit ReFED to help those in the industry develop and implement waste reduction strategies. The Action Guides were developed in partnership with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) and its members. Guides include the Foodservice Food Waste Action Guide, Restaurant Food Waste Action Guide, Retail Food Waste Action Guide, and Foundation Action Guide.

ReFED says the US wastes 63 million tons, or $218 billion, of food annually. Reducing food waste increases food security, spurs economic growth, and creates local jobs, ReFED says. This means there is significant financial and reputational value for restaurants and foodservice providers in reducing food waste.

Businesses lose significant amounts of money due to unharvested and uneaten food. According to ReFED, the financial cost for business includes:

  • Farms: $15 billion per year
  • Manufacturers: $2 billion per year
  • Consumer-facing businesses: $57 billion per year


How the Guides Can Help

ReFED says the guides set a clear path to “achieve the national goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030.”

Nell Fry, senior manager of sustainability and corporate responsibility for Sodexo North America, for example, says the action guides will help the company prioritize its actions as the company works to eliminate waste in all of its operations.

For foodservice and hospitality company Delaware North, food reduction success has come from efforts like chefs reducing waste during food preparation and cooking, attention to portion control, recycling and composting programs, and a company-mandated food donation program to support local food banks. The guides will help direct the company as it continues in its reduction endeavors.

The Foodservice and Restaurant Food Waste Action Guides provide best practices and strategies as well as present a set of proven prevention, recovery, and recycling solutions to help the industry prioritize and accelerate waste reduction activities, ReFED says.

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