The War on Waste

The hospitality and foodservice industry has seen an intersection between health and wellness and sustainability, with a large shift towards buying locally and focusing on issues such as industrial waste. The buzz among the industry is largely related to the federal government’s recent announcement to cut food waste by 50% by 2050 with their national food waste strategy. So how does this affect the hospitality and foodservice industry and what does this mean for the future?

The convergence of health and wellness and sustainability is seen through the mindfulness and authenticity of ingredients, a shift in menus, and even the types of packaging used within the foodservice industry. The term ‘going green’ is one we’ve heard frequently in terms of business practices, such as environmentally friendly processes, or use of biodegradable material and recycling efforts. Whilst decreasing their carbon footprint, hospitality and food service industries who communicate their social responsible practices to their customers also benefit from those who see sustainability as an essential part of the future.

The overlap of sustainability and health and wellness can also arise from transparency – a valued and important concept for customers across all industries and in particular the hospitality and foodservice. It’s important for customers to know exactly what they’re consuming and where the produce is sourced. Within hospitality, buying locally is a crucial factor for businesses to consider, as consumers expect transparency from companies regarding ingredients and production processes. The country of origin effect (COO) comes into play, as customers judge for themselves the quality and satisfaction of products – whether they are after fresh, local produce from Australian farms, or authentic produce sourced globally. By exposing customers to the environmental impacts of industrial and sustainable farming methods, a change in lifestyle could be made accordingly to focus on more sustainable diets.

Another dimension that comes into effect when observing the overlap of health and wellness and sustainability is the war on waste. Currently, food waste is estimated to cost the Australian economy $20 billion each year. In turn, this puts significant strain on our environment through the wastage of land, water, energy and fuel used to produce and distribute food. Within the hospitality and food service industry, the drivers of food waste arise from poor stock management, storage, and handling practices. Customers leading a sustainable lifestyle expect businesses in the foodservice to implement the same ‘sustainable’ mindset within their practices and a certain level of effort in the reduction of food and resource wastage. With the federal government’s support, establishing a voluntary commitment program to reduce food waste is one initiative created to engage business and industry. The future is looking both bright and green!

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