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A conversation with Eleanor Morris from WRAP on the “Guardians of Grub: becoming a champion” online training course
by James Tang/16th-November-2020
We have the pleasure of Interviewing Eleanor Morris from WRAP. She is a special advisor for the Hospitality and Food waste service sector for WRAP.
She has worked for WRAP on reducing food waste for the last decade. Recently, they have developed a new online learning programme to help UK hospitality and foodservice businesses put food waste
reduction and associated cost savings right at the heart of their operations.
Could you start by telling us more about yourself?
“I’ve been at WRAP for 10 years now and working with WRAP on voluntary agreements focusing on reducing food waste, and that’s one of the areas that we focus on alongside juicing plastics, and textiles as well.”
Why is food waste a massive problem?
So if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest in terms of greenhouse gas emissions of the US and China.
So it really is a global issue, and we obviously need to work together to address that and you know the other global issues that are contributing to climate change are depleted resources. There are lots of resources to go into making the food in the first place and we’re throwing a third of the food that is produced away.
Meanwhile, you know, there are lots of people who aren’t accessing food. And so it’s an economic, as well as environmental and social challenge that we’re trying to tackle on a global scale.
By addressing food waste within the UK within the hospitality and food service sector, WRAP research shows that over 1 million tonnes of food is being thrown away in the EU.
Just by our sector alone at a cost of 3.2. billion pounds, which is costing the average site about 10,000 pounds a year of that 1 million tonnes of food that ends up in the bin 75% could have been eaten so that’s food that could have been eaten that ends up being thrown away.
So we’re working with the sector to really tackle that and focus on feeding people not bins and trying to value food differently, and see it as the precious resource that it is to help the environment to help the economic and bottom line for businesses to remain viable particularly in the current challenging situations for the sector.
How does food waste apply to the hospitality sector?
So in the hospitality and food service sector, food waste is over a million tonnes every single year and 75% of that food waste could have been eaten.
So it’s a really relevant topic for the sector. Not only that, you know, it ends up in the bin and could have been eaten. We find that 3.2 billion pounds that it’s costing the sector.
So, wherever you tackle food waste within a hospitality business, it will have an impact on your bottom line, you will reduce your purchase costs and so on.
So, we can provide some practical solutions to how to tackle that within hospitality, as a service business we know that tracking and measuring the amount of food that ends up in the bin.
As soon as you start doing that, it will start to change the mindset of a team in the kitchen because seeing really is believing nobody wants to throw food in the bin, but without understanding how it gets there. It’s very challenging to be able to tackle it so we provide the tools, free of charge for the teams within the hospitality sector to really understand what’s happening on their site, and how they can make the changes happen, and the tools and the campaigns that we have are branded Guardians Of Grub.
And we launched the campaign last year, and at a government feed waste champion. Bennett stepped up to the plate event which was in May 2019.”
There are a lot of challenges going on right now in the hospitality sector, why do you think food waste should be on their mind?
Yeah, absolutely. Challenges are obviously unprecedented. And what the Guardians Of Grub project and campaign aims to do is designed to help businesses to build back better, we know that measuring and tracking food waste makes a difference to the bottom line, we’ve got loads of case studies that illustrate this, and so on.
We’ve also seen recently, some research that Just Eat and the Sustainable Restaurant Association published that highlighted during COVID.
Some of the restaurants they were working with their food waste were increasing because of the unpredictability of the situation that we’re facing at the moment. So really being able to have data on measuring food waste, as well as the capability to react swiftly really does contribute to businesses, staying viable during these challenging times.
Can you tell us more about the Guardians Of Grub campaign?
Yeah, absolutely. So, last year as I mentioned, we launched the Guardians Of Grub awareness raising campaign and that was really about helping the sector to make the connection between food waste contributing to climate change, but also we all have a role to play with being able to tackle that. And that’s why we’re all Guardians Of Grub. This year, we’re launching an online learning campaign and project around building the confidence, as well as the competency for people to be able to take action on reducing food waste.
Images: Video into to the Campaign the Guardians of Grub. National Food Waste Campaigns organised by WRAP. The cost of Food Waste. The poster for Guardians of Grub
We have Becoming A Champion is the name of the course so it’s Guardians Of Grub Becoming A Champion is the name of this online learning course, it’s available across the UK is completely free.
It’s a pilot project so we’re testing out how this works and asking for feedback along the way. It’s a practical mechanism for sites to firstly, understand what’s the big issue with food waste, how you can measure it, you know, it’s not like other utilities, you can’t look at a feed waste bill in the same way you can for energy or water.
So you need to have your team on board you need to have humans involved with understanding the, what’s ending up in the bins so the Guardians Of Grub Becoming A Champion course has five levels with each have five modules within those, so it caters for every single individual within the organisation, starting from the basics and going right through to building this issue within the culture of the organisation so that it’s in key performance indicators is in the standard operating procedures that we’re building a community around this issue, and so that we can all help and support an advocate ways of improving approaches to reducing food waste so that we’re sharing ideas and creativity it’s such a fantastic sector to work with, you know, innovation is at the heart of the sector and there’s so much creativity in the kitchen, you know, creating new menus to tackle these problems is a real opportunity for enhancing our approach to this.
So, this is where a lot of ideas come from so once you understand where your food waste is coming from I mentioned a metre earlier so you can track your food waste using printout tracking sheets with a pen and paper.
We’ve then got a free Guardians Of Grub calculator tool which you can use or wiser for waste from Unilever food solutions, or a whole host of other tools are available to be able to understand exactly where your food waste is coming from so that then you can pinpoint the hotspots in your kitchen, to make sure that you’re tackling the changes that are right for you and once you can see where the food waste is coming from. That’s where the really exciting parts come because then you can measure which parts work for you so we’ve got loads of examples on our website and the Guardians of Grub website but also built into the Becoming A Champion course where
we’ve seen changes that have made that 5 to 6% difference on the bottom lines of Harrington arms is a pub, owned by Robinsons brewery,
and they’ve rolled all of course across their estate, because they can see that actually by helping the staff see what ends up in the bin, they can make changes so they now at another pub called the airport, they, they have the naked burger so it doesn’t have any burger buns, on, on their offer, because they were seeing these coming back from the plate so they wanted ways to really reduce what was happening. And so yes we’ve got loads of case studies I’d really encourage everyone listening to this to check out the resources on their guardiansofgrub.com. If you’re interested in signing up to the Becoming A Champion course, we would love to have you on that. It’s live from the first of September and the last date you can start the course will be the 18th of December, so please do. If you want to find out more please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you all the information you need to get started and register your interest, you’ll get certificates along the way, you can access all of the levels, you’re not limited to one level at a time, but we’ll, we’ll signpost you to the most appropriate level that we think will be right for you. And we’ll also be having participant surgery so that we can share ideas and talk through how things are going, so that it becomes more interactive and more of this community feels so that we’re all fighting food waste together.