A Conversation Regarding Food Waste with Diana Chan - Senior Nutritionist, Hong Kong


What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

There are about 3,000 tons of food is thrown away and ends up in the landfills every day in Hong Kong. On top of that, China has banned imports of many types of unprocessed rubbish. 

As a nutritionist, I believed that a lot of food waste is still packed full of useful nutrients. When we discard food, we are also discarding many healthy nutrients, some of which we lack in our average daily diet. 

What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the kitchen?

Open the fridge and take a snapshot of your food inventory every week. Follow the ‘first in, first out’ rule and place oldest foods at the front of the fridge. Plan meals around those ingredients first.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Always be mindful from shopping to preparing and consuming food. Shop smart and purchase the exact amount needed whenever possible: single fruits or vegetables, and whole grains, nuts and seeds from bulk bins. Avoid single-use disposables and plastics; bring shopping reusable shopping bags and tumblers with you.

What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

The quick-and-easy way is using the sweet fruits such as banana, pineapple, peach, plum and mango as they begin to brown and become mushy, add them to smoothies or baked goods for an instant natural Vitamin C and fiber boost.   

A Conversation with Fernando Pascual Bañuls - A General Manager, Compass Group Spain


What do you know about food waste and how do you think it affects society and the world?

    Wasting food waste is an irrational madness. We need to improve our awareness around food resources, especially when there are still so many people who do not have enough to eat or drink and the waste causes environmental damage. We should be aware that resources are not infinite.

How can you influence, from your professional and social position, the reduction of waste? And how do you think that other people can help reduce it?

    We all influence others. How we bring up our children is fundamental and the habits we practice are the examples we set for others.

    Compass Group feeds thousands of people in Spain and millions in the world. We should improve in all lines of action that allow us to reduce food waste, from providing more information to our clients and customers to raising awareness, to better planning in our operations to avoid excesses. It’s about educating both customers and teams. We all win with it. We all benefit from more optimal use of resources. We must take advantage of all good ideas and all good practices. We have a clear determination to continuously improve in this matter.

What change have you made personally, in your day to day, to be more aware of the food waste and the need to reduce it?

At home we advance in several areas:

- We cook what we are going to consume, without excesses. I personally have improved a lot by better measuring so I use only what is really necessary.

- We eat it all. We teach our daughters that food should not be thrown away.

- We try to re-use any food that is left over.

- We make a shopping list, so we acquire depending on what we are going to eat in the coming days. This way we avoid throwing food.

What is your favorite way of using leftovers? 

    I think that, like a good Valencian, I often combine rice with vegetables, chicken or fish. Rice combines easily with everything. I also make salads. Other times, simply, we re-use the dishes that we have saved, alone or combined. 

    In addition, I have a very clear opinion that the typical dishes of all regions are due to a history of sustainability and best use of the resources of each region. For example, the paella takes advantage of the available and best ingredients of the Levante region and that does not stop it from being an exquisite dish. The same applies to their typical dishes in most regions.

Finally, what do you think are the key impacts of Compass Group’s Stop Food Waste Day campaign?

    I hope it helps to improve collective awareness, being a way of education, as I said previously. Although there is more consciousness, it is not enough if we look at the amount of food waste that is still produced throughout the planet. 

    After the campaign developed in April and May, I have asked my teams to continue the habits started with the Stop Food Waste Day throughout the year.

A Converstation with Charles Woolmington - Operations Director of Compass Group, Hong Kong


What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

For me it is the sense of achievement and the sense of “Wow - how cool is that!?” You get when we all make a difference. This comes from seeing first-hand what we achieved daily as well as hearing the stories through the media. Two stories that have really inspired me recently have been, firstly the 30%-reduction of plastic bags from coastal waters off Europe due to the reduction of single-use plastic shopping bags from retailers. Secondly, the invention of a mobile recycling plant that can be solar powered; it turns waste plastic bottles into building bricks. When you see stories like this it definitely makes you want to do more.

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

My real heroes for food waste are the many companies such as “Feeding Hong Kong” and “Food Angel” who collect the leftover food from operators and distribute it to the needy. I have seen this grow over the last 10 years. Without those initial people so many other organization’s in Hong Kong would probably never be where they are today with their own programs.

What change have you made, personally, to be more mindful of food waste?

Living in Hong Kong food is very expensive, so being mindful of not wasting food is even more important. It’s important here to buy smaller quantities, more often. We very often will buy our fresh ingredients daily rather than weekly so it’s best to plan your meals for the week, especially with salad items, etc. Many items are imported so you need to take into account some fresh items may be days or weeks old before they hit the supermarket shelves compared to our home countries, so they will have a shorter life. Also, wherever you are in the world be mindful of “best before dates.” Of course, be sensible and know your food but not all food is bad once is passed its best before date.

What will it take for Hong Kong to make food waste a priority?

I feel that food waste issues in HK are driven more by private organization’s and charities. The government run programs, such as the “Big Waster” program through Schools and public events. However, I feel that as an organization, we do more to support food waste programs than I see in my personal life. I live in a high-rise block of flats like most of the population in HK and my family recycles our non-food waste and we have to take this daily to a collection point. There isn’t a food waste collection program yet. We educate through our schools to reduce our waste, but unfortunately when we get home we don’t do enough. The government has a food waste plan and are building organic food waste facilities; there will be three by 2021 with two more planned. Before that point, though, we need to educate ourselves as individuals and make it more convenient for households to collect their waste.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

There is one thing that really sticks in my mind; it was something a friend once told me years ago. We were all talking about making New Year’s resolutions and my one friend simply said, “if you want to make a difference then remember to turn the tap off while you brush your teeth.” This always stuck in my mind and I continue to remember this every time I brush my teeth. Over the years, I am sure I have saved a fair bit of water and money too. Just imagine if we all did this!

A conversation with James Larkins - Group Executive Chef, University of Oxford, United Kingdom


What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately? 

The importance of buying and cooking what you actually need can never be under promoted. From sensible purchasing to careful production we can create a sustainable system to generate a positive outcome in the long run.  

What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

1) Know your consumers’ likes and dislikes - you can then plan to serve what you know is popular 

2) Review your sales data on a regular basis and replace the dishes that are not selling

3) Plan out the exact numbers of each dish required and adjust based on sales data

4) Follow set recipes to ensure that you are using the measured ingredients for that dish

How about in the home kitchen?

1)         Packed ingredients can often give you too much of a product. Try buying loose produce so you can take home only what you are actually likely to use

2)         Find out if all family members are home for meal times and cook accordingly 

3)         Use your favorite chef’s recipes. Following recipes helps you to reduce the amount of ingredients you would have used by cooking free hand.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Think about planning your food week out with the portions you actually require; this will contribute to a big reduction in food wastage and your weekly food spend. 

What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

I enjoy hearty soups served with warm crusty bread! A lot of ingredients, even after they have been cooked, still hold a great deal of flavor so turn them into a big hearty soup. It’s a great way to use up leftover ingredients.

A conversation with Alex Robinson, Executive Chef - HSBC 8 Canada Square


What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

It’s great to see that everyone is realizing we need to tackle food waste as a society. However, there is so much work to be done to more towards a more sustainable ecology. 

What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the kitchen?

Talk about tackling waste, identify processes that are causing waste and remove these from the business. See food waste as a challenge, not an inevitability.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Keep a list of the products that you throw away at home every week. Before you go shopping look at the list and buy less of these items. You will spend less and waste less

What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

Use leftovers to make frittatas or soups.

What are some of the things you’re doing to reduce waste at the HSBC site?

Every day in our kitchen briefings we talk about the wastage from the day before and then come up with actions to reduce our waste, whether its ordering, trimmings or portion size. With everyone engaged we see less in the bin day on day.

A conversation with Arthur Chow - Corporate Dining & Hospitality Manager - Hong Kong


What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

Food is important human beings and good food are essential to a Food & Beverage professional. With resources becoming more limited, I hope that the next generation will have a chance to enjoy the food that I have in my life. Sustainability makes it possible. 

Regarding the food-waste reduction: when I was in school, I have heard news stories around the number of children losing their lives per minute due to the lack of food and nutritional input. Whenever I don’t finish my meal, I remember this and I do my best to reduce the waste. 

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

I have one ex-colleague who is passionate about food waste. When I would have lunch with her, she would remind me to try to finish all my food. If not, she would tell me various stories about food waste. She never let herself have any remaining food on her plate. It was great to have her around you as a reminder about food waste.

What change have you made, personally, to be more mindful of food waste?

I have started to order less food when I go out for dinner with friends. Also, I will try to let my friends know that I have concerns around the leftover food so that they may also be influenced. When I have dinner at home, I am the one who is willing to finish the last piece of food on the table. 

What will it take for [Hong Kong] to make food waste a priority?

Education is essential. However, the educational system is not where it should be at this moment in Hong Kong and the students may not be able to learn what they have to learn to be responsible person to the earth and society. With that, the effort from the food donation organization is important and the cooperation with the corporate world will help to make this a priority in Hong Kong. Once all the large companies start to focus on food waste and donation, the medium-size companies will start and finally the small ones will follow. It will help Hong Kong to make food waste a priority. In HSBC we organize several activities at the nursery to help convey sustainability related message to the children. Hopefully they will bring these messages home to their parents. 

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

 Order just enough food or ask for lesser portions if unable to finish.  

A conversation with Pia Bonke, HSEQ Specialist, focus on Environment & Sustainability


What is your opinion regarding the great deal of attention currently being paid to food waste?

Waste is a global topic that affects many stakeholders at the same time. Those who make it clear to themselves just how much expenditure is involved in our daily food, whether in the form of energy, transport, water or packaging materials, and not least in terms of time, effort and personal passion: for them, this wasting of resources is hard to bear. In addition, what is lost as a result besides economic as much of what we waste is above all valuable and frequently perfectly edible. In other words, this deals with an important sustainability theme with a major need for action. 

Do you have any simple tips for reducing the amount of food that goes to waste in the kitchen?

I personally plan my shopping in advance and give considerable thought to what I really need or still have in the fridge and cupboards. With fresh foods, I tend to buy them in smaller quantities and preferably go back for more rather than have too much of something. Bread is fantastic for freezing. It goes without saying that purchasing planning plays a central role in waste prevention at large-scale kitchen operations, too.    

What is a small change that everyone can put into practice in everyday life in order to make a big difference?

Make the effort and take a bit more time for groceries; for one, deliberately question the origin, quality and value of the foods, then enjoy them. Something that is known and truly appreciated won’t be wasted so easily. For those where this ends up causing too much stress in everyday family or occupational life while shopping, they can start off with meat products, for example, by paying attention to where they come from. 

What are your methods for recycling leftovers and scraps?

It often happens that ingredients still in the fridge result in completely new, creative compositions – boldly explore the new! My latest discovery with a piece of leftover red cabbage: red cabbage salad “Thai-style” with ginger, chili pepper and prawns, served lukewarm. I always process overripe bananas into smoothies or cake. Mealy apples make a fabulous topping for apple pancakes.  

A conversation with Albeiro Herrera - Managing Director, Compass Group - Colombia

sfwd post.png

What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

Undoubtedly, this is one of the great global challenges for the economic and social development, not only for the Company but also at the country and world level.  It’s a challenge that demands from us as leaders a commitment translated into tangible actions on a day-to-day basis. That's where my interest comes from. Additionally, as a global food services company, preventing food waste is a responsibility that forces us to promote a real change in attitudes and different ways of working.  Doing so will help to reduce environmental pollution and contribute to a more sustainable production and consumption model that works towards elimination of hunger and poverty.

What change have you made, personally, to be more mindful of food waste?

It is essential to inspire tangible changes in the different actors of the supply chain by creating habits, educating and generating solutions and innovative practices aimed at minimizing food waste.

What will it take for Colombia to make food waste a priority?

From my point of view, the first thing is the desire to do it and the commitment to achieve it. Because with that, initiatives would start that would lead to new public policies that, when demanded and applied, would positively impact the levels of poverty and ensure care of the environment. 

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

First of all, understand that to achieve tangible results, it is our individual commitment and contribution, our behaviours and practices, which will generate trends and cultural habits that ultimately culminate in a globally collective different way of doing things.






An interview with Torsten von Borstel, United Against Waste e.V.


What does the association do to prevent food waste as a matter of principle? 

Firstly, we create an awareness for dealing respectfully with foods, including all the kitchen preparation processes. Our quick queries to find areas for improvement are: 

·     Where and why am I registering excess production, a return flow of plates with uneaten food, or losses due to “best before” and “use by” dates? 

·     When do I have a direct influence as kitchen manager? 

There are different setting “screws” in the core areas of planning, technology and communication that work together like cogwheels. Throughout the process, we also show the potential for preventing food waste; for instance, the right way to use calibration tables or merchandise management systems. Most of them are simple measures that have a great impact. 

How can “away-from-home catering” operations prevent waste on a long-term basis?

There is no “one size fits all” solution because the demands and requirements, structures and catering concepts vary greatly. Although general solutions do exist – e.g. by using formulas for recipes or dispensing meals suited to specific target groups - it’s the individual commitment and activities to tackle the cause that achieves success in the long run. That’s why we recommend to each facility that they start by measuring food waste over a period of 2-4 weeks using our Waste Analysis Tool. One thing is certain: Whoever reduces their food waste can save a lot of money.  Achieving a 30% reduction in food waste in a company restaurant serving 500 meals a day, amounts to an equivalent saving of ~25,000 Euros (1 litre of food waste = 2 euros)

What can head chefs and staff do against food waste? 

First off, it’s important that everyone involved in the process actively participates in the drive to reduce waste – from the kitchen manager to service personnel. Training too, is important to help achieve long-term behaviour change. During interactive workshop sessions employees draw up practical measures for their unit that contribute towards reducing food waste. Afterwards, we advise them to carry out another waste measurement exercise - this time to check if food waste was able to be reduced further and to what extent the measures are taking hold.

What is presently important – with respect to SDGs as well?

Germany has committed itself to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This involves a binding obligation to diminish food waste by 50% by 2030. The UAW has created the foundations to get there via nearly 400 measurement ratings. Due to the existing resources and underlying data along the entire value chain, “away-from-home catering” operationshave the biggest potential for reducing food waste. But measurements merely form the basis for knowing the amounts of scraps and leftovers that are being disposed of at the end of a given catering day. Now the point is to make instruments available to operations throughout Germany – so that measurements, waste analyses and coaching become the standard for low-waste catering.

More information at www.united-against-waste.de

United Against Waste e.V.(UAW) is an association to benefit the food industry. Together with its members like Compass Group Germany, the association develops practical solutions which demonstrate that food waste reduction is feasible and saves money, too. The measures drawn up by United Against Waste additionally help facilities operating in the field of “away-from-home catering” to make the subject of food waste more tangible during the daily routine in the kitchen. At the same time, active public relations work makes sure that everyone’s focus of attention shifts more and more towards dealing respectfully with food resources.

5 Questions with Andy Twells, Regional Culinary Director, Hong Kong


1.     What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

Food waste has always been a focus in the workplace for reasons of profitability, but now it has become a community and corporate responsibility focus both for us and our client partners. The partnerships have made it really come to life and have given it true momentum

2. What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

Create a culture of care and ownership. Help the team to understand their contribution to waste – make your program visible and reward and recognise your team.

3. How about in the home kitchen?

Become less label-centric. Food labels can be misleading, as they are a recommendation from the manufacturer. If food is cooked above 75 degrees Celsius,  it will always be safe.  Look to utilise leftovers and end-of-date products by creating repurposed dishes. 

4. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

We are all busy so we tend to shop for the week or the month--even for fresh short shelf-life products. This is guess-work and leads to over-purchase and, by default, waste. Take a breath look at what you are buying and start to buy fresh ideally twice a week. Make the effort to plan.

5. What is your favourite way to repurpose leftovers?

In Hong Kong, it’s all about rice. Using leftovers in fried rice is a perfect way to repurpose a variety of ingredients. For over-produced rice, Congee (rice porridge) can be a great start to the day with yesterdays steamed rice and a few reheated leftover cuts.

5 Questions with Maen Mahfoud, Founder/CEO of Replate


Maen Mahfoud, Founder/CEO of Replate

1. What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

Growing up as a Syrian, I saw the effects of poor access to food nearly every day. After immigrating to California, I was disappointed to find similar disparities within San Francisco. I was inspired to build Replate after seeing a homeless man attacking a trash can in search for food.  

2. Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

Arash Derambarsh. He is a local councilor who started the fight against food waste in Paris, France. His campaign against food waste ended with a law forcing French supermarkets to donate surplus food to charities. He is aiming for similar legislations globally. 

3. What change have you made, personally, to be more mindful of food waste?

Using mason jars helps me cut down on my food waste because it forces me to take less food to work and allows me to eat out less. This results in less leftover food and enables me to take back my leftover food home for dinner or for the next day. Not to mention environmental benefit of washing and reusing the jars.

4. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Order less. I believe the best way to impact food waste at the personal level is to train your mind to order less food or trick your brain not to order or shop for more food than necessary. One way to do this is not to go to the supermarket when you are hungry. We tend to order way more when we are hungry at that instant. If you are already at the supermarket and hungry, then grab a snack from the shelf immediately.

5. What will it take for the US to make food waste a priority?

This is challenging because the US is known for its consumerism. However, bringing the right innovators to work together collaboratively to 1). Show the impact of food waste on our environment and 2). significantly reduce food waste, can show that food waste is a big issue but also a solvable one. This will attract attention from major stakeholders, legislators and politicians, and make food waste a priority.


5 Questions with JoAnne Berkenkamp, Senior Advocate - Natural Resources Defense Council


What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction? 

If the world’s food waste were a country, it would rank third after China and the U.S. in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Wasted food is a huge climate change issue.  And when we waste food, we also waste all the water, fertilizer, pesticides, labor, packaging and other inputs used to grow, process, chill and transport it.  If you care about the environment, reducing food waste is a great place to start.  That motivates me daily.

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you? 

Perhaps, like many people, I would say that my mom has been a food waste hero for me.  She cooked for seven family members and she never let anything go to waste.  She was resourceful, thrifty and loathe to let good food land in the trash.

What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Whenever I throw food away (and I still do sometimes, despite best efforts), I always stop to take a good look at it first.  I ask myself two questions:  What am I throwing out?  And why am I tossing it?  Pausing to ask myself those questions has been so powerful.  It has helped me realize that I tend to buy too much food right before travelling and I sometimes make too much of something and then don’t finish all of it.  That awareness has helped me make some simple, easy changes to cut my waste.

What will it take for America to make food waste a priority? 

Most consumers don’t think they waste food. They are very conscious of the price of food when they buy it, but often don’t think about the value of food when they throw it out.  We can make a difference if we help people start to “see” what they waste and recognize that they can save money if they save food.  This is true not only for consumers, but for businesses as well. The more food companies realize that trimming food waste can bolster their bottom line, the more they can also improve their environmental footprint.   

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

I’d say, first, become aware of the food you toss. That simple awareness can spur amazing creativity and help you make simple changes to cut your waste and enjoy more of the food you buy.  Beyond that, teach your kids to value their food.  Lastly, check out SaveTheFood.com for practical tips you can use at home any day of the week.

Karl Deily - President of Food Care, Sealed Air


Rethinking the Food Waste Challenge to Protect our Food Supply

Growing enough food to feed the world is no small task, especially when per-capita consumption continues to increase. Increased consumption has also increased the amount of food we waste and the precious resources that go into producing it.  At the same time, one in eight people in the world continue to lack sufficient nutrients. If we’re truly going to stop food waste—one of the biggest social and environmental challenges of our time—we need to examine how we are thinking about the problem. This is what motivates me to support the Stop Food Waste Day pledge.

     Getting serious about reducing food waste will mean understanding the reasons why we waste food as well as our long-held beliefs, some of which actually can increase food waste. By addressing some of the common misconceptions about food waste, we are one step closer to solving this global challenge. 

#1: “We can only end hunger by growing more food”

Did you know that 40 percent of the world’s food that’s produced is never consumed? The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that if we cut just one quarter of that food waste, we could feed 870 million hungry people.

Making sure that the food we produce reaches people’s plates unspoiled can be a major step in creating a more sustainable food system worldwide. To do this, we’ll need better management of the food supply chain, strong communication with retailers and foodservice operators to anticipate customer needs, predictive technologies on use and freshness, and proper protection to help keep food fresher, longer. 

#2: “I don’t play a part in food waste”

Even though you may be cleaning your plate at every meal, you are likely contributing to food waste in ways you may not realize. In developed nations, retailers and consumers are responsible for almost 40 percent of our wasted food. This is partially a result of consumers not fully understanding food labels and throwing out food that’s still usable.[1]

Another issue is that people often refuse to buy “ugly” fruits and vegetables, even though quality and taste is the same as perfect produce. Consumer food demands and preferences drive retailer and processor decisions and impact the amount of food wasted. This is important to keep in mind when you are shopping or selecting groceries.

#3: “Packaging is more damaging to the environment than food waste”

Packaging must be carefully planned from the start to reduce waste in the supply chain. Over-packaging, poor design, and unsustainable material choices can all be major areas of waste that harm our planet. Properly designed packaging, however, provides maximum protection with the minimum amount of material. Most importantly, it plays an absolutely crucial role in reducing food waste and its environmental impact.

Many people don’t realize that the environmental impacts of food waste are greater than the environmental impacts of the use of packaging. Rotting food that gets sent to landfills emits the harmful greenhouse gas—methane. In this capacity, did you know that if food waste were a country, it would be the third biggest greenhouse gas contributor?

Producing and delivering food also requires resources, from farmland to water to the energy used to transport it. If that food is then wasted because it wasn’t properly protected, all of those resources are also wasted instead of being used to provide valuable nutrients.

This issue will only become more pressing as the population grows and we need to work together to make a difference. On Stop Food Waste Day, I pledge to be a Food Waste Warrior, will you?

Pledge now and learn how to reduce food waste!

A conversation about food waste with Rick Post, COO - Compass Group USA


What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction? 

Growing up in a large working-class family we always made sure we never wasted anything! This included clothes, shoes, heat in the winter, baseball gloves and, of course, food.  I was the youngest of six and by the time things got to me, you couldn’t even use them. However, I was still happy to have it. We never went out for dinner as my mom cooked every meal. She utilized everything and it always tasted great. We weren’t allowed to leave the dinner table unless our plates were finished. There were no leftovers in our house.  

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you? 

My youngest daughter Deanna really inspired me when she started to feed the homeless with a program called “Peace Begins with a Smile.” She sold her handmade rope bracelets and would then take the money to buy lunch for someone who was homeless on the street. What makes her story unique is she talks with the person to get their story and then gives that information to the person who bought the bracelet. It completes the circle. It’s a great story that I am proud of and inspired by. 

What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Compass serves 9.8 million meals a day. Surplus food happens in our industry but when you see wasted food at the end of the day you can’t help but think of all the people who don’t have any food at all. It doesn’t feel right! At Compass, we always focus on how we can reduce wasted food and do the right thing.

What will it take for America to make food waste a priority? 

It’s about awareness and education. The more people realize how we can make a difference and support people in need, the better off the world will be! 

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

I have been in the food business my entire life and I am fortunate to be around great food every day.  Change starts with me and I am committed to bringing awareness to people and businesses to make an impact. I can assure you my plate always leaves the table empty.  If more people did that it would make a huge difference at every age.  

Chef Tom Colicchio talks to Amy Keister about stopping food waste

tom c.png

AK:      Why is reducing wasted food such a passion for you?

TC:       60 years ago, you knew the person that produced your food. You knew the farmer, you knew the fisherman and you knew the baker.  These were all people in your neighborhood.  Because you knew them, you placed a higher value on the food, the products that they produced.  Now we are several steps away from where and how our food is produced and we have devalued the food itself.

            It is not just the food that is being wasted, there are tremendous natural resources that are being wasted.  We have parts of the country in severe drought as well as greenhouse gasses and other environmental resource issues that are exasperated by wasting food.


AK:      Chef, you get asked to do countless partnerships and speaking engagements every day.  What drew you to Compass Group and partnering with Stop Food Waste Day?

TC:       I think that it is great for individuals and independent restaurants to step up and make a difference tackling food waste.  When you have a large organization that is producing and selling so much food every day and is committed stopping food waste, they you can really make a difference.


AK:      You are an incredibly talented Chef, entrepreneur, television star as well as a food activist on the national stage.  What’s next for you?

TC:       I want to keep raising awareness around these food issues.  I make my living in this industry but there are a lot of problems that come with that.  I will continue to speak out on the issues that affect this industry.  I will also be an advocate for the people in this country who do not have enough food to eat, the small family farmers that need our support as well as a supporter of any smart governance that can cure a lot of the ills in this country.


AK:      Chef, pretend you have a magic wand.  You can wave your wand and get everyone to do one thing that will make the biggest difference stopping food waste.  What is the one thing that you get everyone to do?

TC:       I don’t know if there is just one thing.  Make sure that you are getting to your food before it spoils.  Always be aware of what you have in your refrigerator and pantry.  Shop more frequently and have a plan when you do.  If something does spoil, imagine throwing away money.  Every scrap that goes in the bin is money.  What can you do to stretch that dollar?  Put value on your food and you will waste less. 

A conversation about food waste with Chef Jose Andres - Chef/Owner, ThinkFoodGroup


1.       What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

I love going to the farmer’s markets around DC. It is so exciting to be able to see what the farmers are bringing each week. And the best kept secret at farmers’ markets is the imperfect produce! It is always cheaper than the spotless, perfect stuff. Maybe this imperfect, overripe tomato is not the most beautiful one, but it is definitely the juiciest! Food doesn’t have to look amazing to taste that way.  If we can focus more on taste and less on look, this is a great step forward. 

2.       Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you? 

Many years ago I was lucky enough to meet my friend Robert Egger, who started DC Central Kitchen and now has moved to open LA Kitchen. Robert was inspired by a food recovery idea he had – why not take the leftover food from banquets in the city, like the 1989 presidential inauguration, and feed many more people with it? For almost 30 years the organization has been receiving literally tons of imperfect fruits and vegetables from farmers and turning them into meals for those in need – it is an incredible story!

3.       What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

In my home, my family and I have worked to make our little piece of land very productive to feed ourselves. With the help of Bennett Haynes, the Chief of Produce at Beefsteak, we have installed raised beds to grow tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and so much more, and we also installed a tower garden so we can grow herbs all year around. And a few years ago I started working with German Perillafrom George Mason University, who is an expert with honeybees. He helped me install some amazing beehives at my home, and I have learned so much about how bees are so important for our food system.Our bees make so much honey, we always have extra to give to friends!

4.       What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

We have so much to focus on when it comes to feeding our country, and as soon as we can start to understand that we have a huge opportunity with the food that people are throwing away, we will be able to move forward. We need to be working on smart solutions to really think about innovative ways to combat hunger. How can we take leftover foods, imperfect produce, food that won’t ever make it to the grocery store – and make it into nutritious, tasty food for those in need? We need to be talking about this more!

5.       What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

We can all be more thoughtful with how to cook leftover food … do not throw away any scraps of food on your plates – make them your lunch tomorrow! When I make my daughters’ lunches, I like to pack them leftovers rather than sandwiches ... everyone wants to trade with them at school! Some of my favorite dishes come from yesterday’s meals – like migasand my favorite sopade ajothat both use day-old bread. With dishes like this, there is no need to throw anything away!


A conversation with Gary Green, CEO - Compass Group North America


What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction? 

My daughters are very interested in how and who grows their food.  They are so inspiring and their passion is contagious. Their generation is so much better than mine in terms of caring where their food comes from. My generation was the generation of “processed” food. 

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you? 

My Mum and Dad were brought up on rations and food straight from the fields during and after the war.  They were raised to never let anything go to waste and their plates were always clean at the end of a meal. 

What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

I’m very conscious of waste at catered events. I see how much food is prepared, served and thrown away – and therefore I try to be thoughtful about the quantities and types of food we order for catering.  I make certain that when we place orders, we get just enough without having excessive waste or leftovers.  

How can we help America make food waste a priority? 

Compass Group potentially has more contact with people on a daily basis than anyone else in the country.  We serve 9.8 million meals every day.  This sphere of influence and scale gives us the ability to help set an example and educate people in ways that they can reduce food waste at home and at work.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

We all need to change our perception around food and how it is stocked.  In our cafes, as in grocery stores, guests expect an abundance of food no matter the time of day.  I’d like to see that perception change somewhat.  It’s ok to run lower on food as meal and shopping periods come to a close.  This is where businesses most overproduce food.

5 Questions with Marc Zornes, Co-Founder - Winnow Solutions


1. Can you describe how Winnow is working with Compass Group – and in what countries - to make an impact in helping to reduce food waste?

Compass has been working together with us for four years to solve the issue of food waste and run its operations more efficiently, profitably and sustainably. 

We connect commercial kitchens to the cloud, allowing them to record and analyse exactly what is put in the bin. This gives chefs the information necessary to drive improvements in their production processes to cut food waste in half, saving money and reducing their environmental footprint. 

Compass Group was one of Winnow’s first customers and has been our closest partner in

helping us develop and refine our technology. Working together with Winnow, Compass was able to reduce food waste by more than 50% across the UK & Ireland business and 38% Globally.

Winnow has been implemented across all key areas of Compass’ business including staff restaurants, universities, military bases and hospitals. Our work with Compass Group has shown that sites which take action to measure and monitor waste can cut food waste by 50% or more by value while addressing a major environmental issue. As a result, we are now live in Compass sites internationally: UK, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, UAE and trialling in Canada in a couple of weeks.

By addressing the issue of food waste, Compass is leading the way on how companies should address this challenge.

2. What motivates your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

While at McKinsey, I co-authored a significant research paper on resource productivity. I was struck by the food waste statistics when I first learned about them: one third of all food is wasted from farm to fork, and if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of Greenhouse Gases in the world behind the USA and China.

I believe that food is too valuable to waste, and that technology can transform the way we use food. What gets measured gets managed, and by using data intelligently kitchens can be more efficient. Reducing food waste will save money and lower the environmental impact of food production. Food waste costs the hospitality and foodservice sector over $100bn globally. With Winnow we have been working for the last four years to solve this enormous problem for both the sector and for society as a whole. 

3. Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

I am really inspired by all the innovative and forward-looking businesses who decided to be part of our journey and by doing so they are changing the way kitchens around the world are run forever. Together with them we are leading the charge in the war to reduce food waste and have achieved amazing results. Together we are saving 23 meals every minute from being wasted, which is incredible.

My real heroes are the chefs that we work with who make a change every day and inspire others to do the same.  Massimo Bottra, for example, is showing the world how to take food that would have been wasted and turning into a beautiful meal that brings people of all walks of life around a table together.

4. What change(s) have you made, personally, to be more mindful?

I am really conscious about not over-buying food and planning ahead for the meals I am preparing. I am trying to use each ingredient to its fullest and most of the time I do not follow recipes to the letter, just try to use what I have. It is much more fun and allows you to unleash your creativity.

5. What will it take for the UK, and society in general, to make food waste a priority?

We need to start thinking about food waste as an opportunity rather than as a problem. It takes investment and time but the potential economic, environmental and social benefits are huge. Addressing food waste systematically and with the right tools can be transformative and we are excited to see the global foodservice market waking up to the huge opportunity that addressing food waste presents.


Marc Zornes holds an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD and a Bachelors of Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis. He is a former Manager at McKinsey & Company where he was a leader in the Sustainability and Consumer practices.

While at McKinsey, Marc co-authored the McKinsey Global Institute report, Resource Revolution: Meeting the World's Energy, Materials, Food and Water Needs. In developing this report, his team highlighted food waste as one of the biggest issues globally and yet very little was being done about it.

Marc then left McKinsey to found Winnow. Winnow builds technology to help chefs run their kitchens more efficiently focusing on helping chefs understand and prevent food waste. Since launch four years ago Winnow has been deployed hundreds of kitchens in 30 countries globally and has saved its customers over £11.5m by reducing food waste.



A Food Waste Conversation with Chris Garside, Managing Director - Compass Group UK & Ireland


Why do you care about food waste reduction?

Creating waste isn’t in anyone’s interest and it certainly isn’t good for the planet. When we cut food waste we save money and natural resources enabling us to reinvest in the services we offer whilst helping to protect the planet at the same time.

What good examples have you seen of reducing food waste?

Every good example I have seen happens because people are engaged in reducing waste and have a tool to measure the waste. The Winnow system is a fantastic way to monitor food waste but it’s our colleagues that make the positive difference. Within our Business & Industry sector many sites also use our menu planning tool (The Source) to input waste data but again it’s our people that make the savings.

I also know we have local examples where people donate surplus packaged food with short shelf lives to charity. It’s good to know we’re helping feed vulnerable people rather than wasting food. 

What change have you made, personally, to be more mindful of food waste?

At work I ask our chefs what they do to avoid wasting food: not to be critical but to encourage them to be creative. At home I find using the freezer is a great way to avoid leftovers going in the bin.

What will it take for UK & Ireland to make food waste a priority?

Ithink food waste is a priority for food businesses in the UK and Ireland. In the UK many business are involved in something called Champions 12.3 named after one of the Sustainable Development Goals (https://champions123.org/). I also love this website from Ireland which is full of top tips (http://stopfoodwaste.ie/). 

Where we struggle in the UK is in having regional waste policies that make operating consistently nationwide harder. A national waste system would help us. 

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Make a shopping list.

Most people want to do their food shopping as fast as possible and if you’re hungry, have got the kids with you, or are just tired after a day at work it’s easy to buy more than you need. Having a shopping list (or buying online with time to plan) helps us buy what we need and avoid spending money on items that we don’t, which could end up as waste.

A Conversation with Norihiro Ozawa, President and CEO - Compass Group Japan


What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

Compass Japan has been awarded ISO 14001 certification for 17 years renewing every year. Starting from headquarters and branch offices, now 66% of our sites have been certified by taking actions to reduce food wastes. This figure is the biggest in the field of food contract business in Japan. However, since our service itself heavily affects clients' activities to achieve their environmental goal, it is necessary to continue making efforts to realize further expansion and deepening of food waste reduction activities. As a leading company, the continuation of such activities will make the quality of our market itself higher, our clients and consumers happier, and finally the confidence of colleagues in Compass Japan higher.

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

Since long ago in Japan, people have cherished the concept of "MOTTAINAI," which expresses how people should respect the resources around us, to not waste resources, and to use them with a sense of gratitude. Finally it has been globally known through activities by Wangari Muta Maathai who was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. In my childhood, I learned its concept from my grandmother who had experienced child-raising challenges during the period of food shortage after World War 2. With gratitude to blessings of nature, I had been educated to finish all foods on my plate. Naturally, I hand down the concept of MOTTAINAI to my children. I believe daily customs related to foods are highly influenced by the education from parents to children.

What change have you made, personally, to be more mindful of food waste?

When I go shopping with my wife to the grocery store, I always stop by an area of bargain products, to buy vegetables and fruits with less freshness, and seasonings which are close to expiration. While of course I can enjoy lower prices (buying bargain products), it is also important to teach my children these practices.

What will it take for Japan to make food waste a priority?

In Japan, the Ministry of the Environment takes initiatives to promote a variety of activities to reduce food waste. One of its core activities is to educate people about the food waste problem and how to solve it by changing eating habits at home and at the restaurant. Regarding education at home, they implement educational actions through school lunch for children. In restaurants, they promote the concept of "3010 movement" -enjoy foods for the first 30 minutes after the party starts and for the last 10 minutes before closing. They also promote a variety of actions to finish foods. In this sense, “Education” is a very important aspect among our actions for the Stop Food Waste Day in April. 

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

It is very important to organize ingredients in the refrigerator frequently. This will help prevent purchase of unnecessary foods, and utilizing foods close to expiration. Checking what is in the refrigerator is important before going shopping.