Hospital Caterers Association signs up to waste agreement

HCA signs up to the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, committing to encourage members to waste less food and packaging

The agreement aims to help cut down on food and associated packaging waste within the healthcare sector

The Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) has signed up to the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement (HaFSA), committing to actively encourage its members to waste less food and associated packaging, as well as reuse and recycle more.

The HCA will join forces with 182 HaFSA signatories and supporters who are already taking steps to tackle the waste issue and realise profit.

The move comes as it is revealed that food waste alone costs the UK hospitality and food service sector a staggering £2.5billion annually.

One of the big challenges the sector currently faces is tackling the vast amount of food and packaging waste it produces and currently disposes of to landfill each year

More than ,1000 million meals are served in the healthcare sector each year - that’s estimated at 13% of all meals eaten out of home in the UK annually. Just from catering the sector produces 170,300 tonnes of waste each year, of which 121,000 tonnes is food waste.

Andy Jones, national chairman of the HCA, said: “We’re really proud to be part of this agreement. We know waste is a serious issue in our industry and we all - companies, organisations and associations - have to work together to make a difference. As caterers we also recognise that waste comes from many sources and areas, but as national chairman, I am also challenging HCA members to consider looking at their food waste and where it arises; preparation, spoilage and plate waste.”

He added: “Planning menus is a critical part of addressing all three areas. For plate waste, it arises not just as a consequence of people being ill and leaving food, it could be as a result of incorrect portion size or the wrong menu for a particular patient group. I feel that the level of inaccuracy on these aspects could be dramatically reduced if patients and caterers work together firstly with the clinical teams to create the menus then followed by the dieticians undertaking the nutritional checking.”

By 2015 the agreement aims to cut food and associated packaging waste by 5% - the equivalent of saving around 100 million meals that could have otherwise ended up in the bin. It also aims to increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste that is being recycled, processed for energy or composted to 70% - the equivalent of taking 110,000 cars off the road for one year.

I feel that the level of inaccuracy could be dramatically reduced if patients and caterers work together firstly with the clinical teams to create the menus then followed by the dieticians undertaking the nutritional checking

The HaFSA was created by WRAP on behalf of the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland governments and builds on WRAP’s research and work already being undertaken by industry to tackle waste.

Liz Goodwin, chief executive of WRAP, said: “We are delighted that the Hospital Caterers Association has signed up to be a supporter to the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement. One of the big challenges the sector currently faces, as identified by WRAP’s research, is tackling the vast amount of food and packaging waste it produces and currently disposes of to landfill each year. The joint agreement between WRAP, all four UK governments and industry will tackle this issue, and by working together we can reduce the environmental impact from waste produced by the sector, while realising the financial benefits.”

Healthcare is one of nine key sub sectors that the HaFSA is aimed at helping, also including restaurants, quick service restaurants, pubs, hotels, leisure, education, staff catering and services.

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