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

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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.