Do you have an appetite for change? Then this blog will share how you can take positive action on food waste within the wedding industry as a force for good.
By simply being an informed wedding planning couple, asking questions, and working with your caterers to create your dream ‘food waste conscious‘ menu, you will be personally attributing to moving away from our throw away culture, and towards a new generation of both eco-conscious wedding suppliers, and consumers.
So, why is food waste such a big deal when it comes to our efforts in turning the tide on climate change?
Here are a few stats for you…
Around ⅓ of the food produced that is intended for human consumption every year, is wasted or lost, which equates to approx 1.3 billion tons and valued at USD$1 trillion. This is enough food to feed 3 billion people.
The global food system is responsible for approx 20-30% of all ‘human-caused’ greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the largest contributors to climate change, according to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.
When you take into account all the resources used to grow food, food waste uses up to 21% of freshwater, 19% of our fertilisers, 18% of our cropland, and 21% of our landfill volume.
The water used to produce the food wasted could be used by 9 billion people at around 200 litres per person per day.
- The hospitality industry (including weddings) wastes an estimated £2.5 billion a year in food waste, and around 40% of this waste is made up of potatoes, pasta and bread.
Reducing food waste by 20% could provide enough food for 25 million people.
The stats are shocking in relation to the devastating impact food waste is having on our economy, society and not to mention our Earths resources and the creation of greenhouse gases.
‘So, How Can Little Old Me Make a Difference When it Comes to Food Waste?’
For us as individual consumers, at the end of the food chain, I believe we can still make a huge positive impact on this global problem, by starting small. Educating ourselves on the issue and getting clear on what behaviour changes we need to implement around food consumption to reduce our own waste, and this includes when we plan our food for our wedding.
3 Things to Ask Your Caterer to Reduce Your Wedding Food Waste
There are oodles of super talented eco-conscious caterers available across the land, that priorities in not only serving up first class menus within their specialism. But also at the heart of their business, they prioritise the reduction of their food waste and therefore impact on our Earth.
So here are some pointers to bring up when you first meet with your caterer…
1. Ask About Their Food Waste Processes
You as a consumer have a massive opportunity to influence the activities of caterers within the wedding industry, through the questions you ask, and what you request to be served up at your wedding. Here are a few simple questions to ask when you meet with your wedding caterer:
How do you manage your food waste as a business?
What can we do to minimise food waste at our wedding?
The answers you receive from these 2 questions will give you a good gauge as to whether the business you are speaking with has a good grasp of minimising their food waste, and therefore has an understanding of the global issue behind these 2 simple questions.
Some topic answers that would be great to hear from the caterers would be around:
how they minimise waste at the ordering and preparation stage, such as offcuts.
what they do with food spoilage, damaged or out of date produce.
how they manage plate wastage, and what they do with leftover food.
how they reduce overproduction of food.
ideas on how they can work with you closely to accurately plan your wedding food order to minimise food waste for your special day.
2. Ask whether they are a ‘Guardian of Grub’.
This is a partnership scheme gives UK businesses official recognition for helping to tackle climate change by reducing wasted food. As a member of the scheme, they will be awarded an official ‘Guardians of Grub’ badge which they can display throughout their business. Their awareness of the scheme, and pledge taken to the cause, will indicate their passion and understanding of how reducing their food waste can have on the future of our planet.
3. Propose Ideas to Reduce Your Wedding Waste To Your Caterer.
If you have found your dream wedding caterers, but would like to push their wedding food waste methods that little bit further. Speak up and request food waste reduction activities on your wedding day. Here are some ideas to consider:
Request locally grown fresh produce that lasts longer.
Be flexible with your wedding menu & explore ways of using the same ingredients for different dishes with your caterer.
Ask your caterer how offcuts can be utilised within your wedding day dishes to minimise preparation waste.
Carefully manage portion sizes for each dish.
Select a ‘plated’ serving style to minimise overproduction food waste.
Provide ‘doggie bags/ boxes’ for your guests to box up their leftovers, and enjoy the following day!
So you have made it to the end of my blog, and I very much hope it has sparked some inspiration to take positive action when planning your wedding food menu! If you are looking for some exciting wedding food ideas with advice on how to be more sustainable, whilst minimising waste at the same time, take a look at our blog The Ultimate List of Unique Wedding food Ideas.
Happy ‘Stop Food Waste Day!’
Founder of The Boho Bride Guide