Takeaway restaurant food waste rises during lockdown

Takeaway restaurants in the UK are generating over 25% more food waste during the coronavirus crisis due to unpredictable ordering patterns, research by Just Eat has revealed.


The findings show that takeaway restaurants are producing £148 worth of food waste a week on average, up from £111 before the COVID-19 lockdown, representing a £16.7m rise for the sector as a whole.

It was also found that a huge £1.8bn worth of takeaway food is thrown away every year in the UK, of which £367m occurs in takeaway outlets, with households accounting for £1.4bn.

In response, Just Eat is giving its partners insights and data to help them better anticipate lockdown fluctuations, and is sharing guidance from the Sustainble Restaurant Association (SRA) to help them evaluate their kitchen set ups and be as food waste savvy as possible.

”No business in its right mind wants to see its core product end up in the bin, especially not when it’s costing almost £400m a year and contributing to a carbon footprint larger than the global aviation industry,” said SRA chief executive Andrew Stephen.

“It’s so easy to over order and under think when ordering in, so we hope that some easy to follow food waste hacks will help the nation turn tonight’s takeaway into tomorrow’s lunch and maintain diners’ newfound awareness of how they eat and order.”

Despite the rise in restaurant waste, Just Eat found that UK households have saved £3.2m worth of takeaway food a week during lockdown by making the most of what they order.

Meanwhile, the company's data for 2019 shows that an average household throws away nearly one tenth of takeaway food they order, with the most common cause being unintentionally ordering larger portions.

The data also reveals that in restaurants, by far the most common reason for food being thrown away was is overproduction of meals, with cooked meals the most thrown away food type, ahead of unused fresh ingredients.

Just Eat is encouraging its restaurant partners to use the Too Good To Go app, which helps businesses reduce food waste by enabling them to sell their surplus food to consumers for a discounted price.

“Many UK takeaway restaurants and consumers are already taking this seriously and we're committed to using our scale to support them to go even further,” said Ben Carter, global director of restaurants & strategic partnerships at Just Eat.

“From providing top tips to reduce food waste to sharing creative recipe ideas, we want to ensure everyone can enjoy their favourite takeaway with no waste."


Image credit: iStock


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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