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HB ON THE SCENE: Industry Teams Up to Reduce Food Waste

NEW YORK—World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, unveiled results from a set of projects demonstrating innovative strategies aimed at reducing food waste in the hotel industry. Based on the results, WWF, AHLA and The Rockefeller Foundation are releasing a toolkit with strategies to help hotel properties and brands meet measurable, time-bound goals to reduce food waste.

Ten hotel properties participated in the 12 weeks of demonstration projects, including a mix of full-service branded hotels and several independent operations across the country. They tested different waste reduction strategies, including low-waste menu planning, staff training and education, and customer engagement. Overall, participating properties reduced food waste at least 10% and, in some cases, properties lowered food costs by 3% or more after increasing measurement and engagement. These findings support case studies conducted by waste tracking technology companies, which typically show cost reduction of 3-8%. The program results also revealed that teams achieved greater success at properties where the owners, general managers and executive staff were highly engaged.

As a culmination of their efforts, WWF, AHLA and The Rockefeller Foundation developed a toolkit that shares key findings and guiding principles, as well as provides next steps to tackle food waste in the hotel industry. The toolkit is a guide to help drive sector-wide participation in food waste reduction programs. The information outlined in the toolkit stresses the value of regular training programs; outlines a sequence of practices to develop food waste prevention strategies; and advises on how to collect and share data to adjust and improve performance. It also urges instilling a greater value toward food among staff and guests—something that is applicable across the entire food system.

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