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Understand food waste


Most food waste is generated through everyday business practices – during purchasing, storage and handling, preparation or customer service. Understanding where and how your food waste is generated is a good start.

Business food waste is both pre- and post-consumer

Pre-consumer: 74% of business food waste

Waste generated during the production of food before it is sold or served can result from:
  • overproduction
  • spoilage, contamination and exceeding expiry dates
  • products not meeting the demands of the food retailing and wholesaling sectors e.g. size and aesthetic specifications
  • food preparation

Post-consumer: 26% of business food waste

Food thrown into the commercial and industrial waste stream after it has been purchased by customers includes:
  • customer plate waste from clubs, pubs, restaurants, cafés and other food providers
  • food purchased from a retail outlet (e.g. a supermarket, deli, fruit and vegetable shop, take-away outlet or bakery) but not eaten.

Conduct an audit

To pinpoint where and how your food waste is being generated, and focus your efforts, the best starting point is to undertake a food waste review.


Business food waste research

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