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The battle to reduce waste is stepping up a gear. Never mind how much recycling you do, businesses will soon be required to measure and seek to actively reduce their food waste, as part of a broader push to improve the environment.

Impact of food waste on the planet

According to the latest report 2018 from WRAP, the UK produces 9.5m tonnes of food waste, once food has left the farm. This waste has a cost of £19bn and more than 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions! WRAP also said that of this waste, 6.4 million tonnes could have been eaten — the equivalent of over 15 billion meals! Broken down by sector, this waste was comprised of:

  • Households 6.6 million tonnes (70%)
  • Manufacturers 1.5 million tonnes (16%)
  • Hospitality & food service 1.1 million tonnes (12%)
  • Retail industry 0.3 million tonnes (3%)

Large food businesses to report food waste

To address this issue, as part of the overall government sustainability strategy, the government recently published a ‘Consultation on improved reporting of food waste by large food businesses in England’ that took place between 13/06/2022 and 05/09/2022.

“Sustainability is a key element of the Government Food Strategy White Paper, which is a once-in-a generation opportunity to create a food system that feeds our nation today and protects it for tomorrow.”

The consultation also notes that reducing food waste will save business money too – as often, this is a largely hidden or ignored cost.

Reducing waste is profitable

Acting to reduce waste is highly profitable – evidence suggests that £1 spent on a waste reduction plan will deliver £14 in savings. Organisations participating in a Food Waste Reduction Roadmap initiative across the UK have achieved measured savings of £365m by saving 251,000 tonnes of food from waste.

For those in catering, there are plenty of opportunities to reduce waste – from peeling vegetables more efficiently, to judging portion sizes better, and cooking to need rather than providing an oversize spread of options.

For any organisation, the first step is to be able to measure waste, in other words – obtain a baseline of how much you are currently generating. Once this figure is obtained you can then consider how to reduce waste and track the effectiveness of any initiatives you put in place.

Pelican launches a new food waste tool!

At Pelican, the Pi software team have recently created a new, practical tool that enables food waste to be quickly and efficiently measured, recorded and costed.

“The development was initiated by a request from one of our clients,” explains Matt Ferris, Product Manager. Keen to reduce their food waste, they had tried another tool, but found that it didn’t meet their requirements and was very expensive.

Pi can help you measure and track two types of food waste – that created during meal preparation, and cooked waste. The former includes such things as vegetable peelings, while the latter covers items left over on a servery, generally due to overproduction. “You can also measure food coming back on the plate,” adds Matt, allowing for tighter portion control.

Food waste is simply weighed at the end of service, or the end of the day, and the amount is entered into the food waste tool. Alternatively, if whole portions are lost due to incorrect cooking, or overproduction, the number of those portions can be entered.

A Pelican client can configure the system to choose what to monitor and measure. And being part of the Pi system, other data is automatically harvested.

“It makes it really easy to record waste, using the previously stored data. And because we already have recipes in the system, that makes it easier to work out the cost of waste meal portions.”

As usual with Pi, the new food waste tool is available to Pelican clients as part of their value-added service, meaning that there is no additional cost to Pelican clients who wish to use this new feature.

More recently, the team added graphs which help show clients how waste is reducing month on month in key areas and make it easier for them to understand the recorded data. And – equally importantly – this calculates the savings an organisation is enjoying, from reducing the volume of food that goes in the bin.

We are here to help

Looking to start measuring and reducing your food waste? Contact the team for a demo or for more information on 01252 705214 or

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