London businesses save money using FoodSave initiative

FoodSave, a scheme with the support of London mayor Boris Johnson, has been helping 15 small food businesses in the city save over £100,000 annually between them and stop 70 stone worth of food every week being wasted.

Food businesses such as pubs, hotels and restaurants have been urged to save money and cut waste with the scheme.

The initial group of 15 businesses that have been taking part in FoodSave have each saved an average £6,000 a year on direct food spending and cut actual food waste by some 1.6 tonnes.

Two of them have been forecast to make savings worth more than £10,000. One of them is predicted to create savings worth £24,000.

One example of a business participating is south west London venue The Imperial Gastro Pub. It has been forecast to make savings of £10,000 and stop a tonne of food wastage occurring each year.

The action behind the savings include providing different sizes of portion and using cups to measure side portions. Leftover inventory is also being used in foods such as soups.

"FoodSave has been an eye-opener and has really helped us identify precisely the areas where we were wasting food and enabled us to come up with solutions," commented pub director Kate MacWhirter.

It seems the scheme has the potential to help create hospitality employment opportunities, too.

Ms MacWhirter said that the savings the pub is making are sufficient to help cover the cost of an additional staff member.

Because of FoodSave's success, 200 additional small food businesses will now get the chance to take part.

"With FoodSave cafes, pubs and restaurants are learning simple ways to reduce the amount of food they throw away and saving thousands of pounds in the process," commented Matthew Pencharz, the mayor's environmental advisor.

"The Mayor now wants hundreds more businesses to get on board this great free scheme and help us dramatically reduce food waste across the city."

As part of the scheme The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) works alongside Winnow to carry out food-wastage audits for businesses.

Winnow's system takes measurements of food wasted and its cost and the SRA helps businesses discover ways of cutting-down on waste and tracking progress with this.

FoodSave can help small hotels, restaurants, canteens, pubs street-food selling businesses, wholesalers, food retailers, food manufacturers, and quick-serve food businesses.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist hospitality recruitment agency.