Rabobank challenge tackles food waste in hospitality industry

At Hotelschool The Hague, we believe in creating hospitable futures together. Futures in which we take the responsibility to inspire our community to make an impact, for example by reducing food waste.

As food circularity is a key topic at Hotelschool The Hague, we are very proud to be a key partner of the national ‘Food Waste Challenge’ initiated by Rabobank and supported by the foundation ‘Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling’ in partnership with Waste Watchers.

Ms Anna de Visser Amundson is the driving force behind our food circularity programme and has initiated many initiatives already, such as rescue missions with our HTH Food Rescue Team, research projects related to the marketing of rescued-based food, and nudging campaigns to reduce food waste and the use of disposables. Together with a team of students, she is now key partner in the Rabo Food Waste Challenge. Officially launched on 31 August, the Food Waste Challenge is now open for 300 restaurants to register. The challenge helps food service outlets to fight food waste in a practical, inexpensive and straight forward way. The role of Hotelschool The Hague is to provide support in taking the food waste measurements as well as in the development and implementation of the interventions to reduce it.

The aim of this challenge is to reduce food waste by 15% in the restaurant sector. This means that we can move the needle from 1 in 6 meals to 1 in 7 meals being thrown away. While that might not sound much at first, scale it to the 51,000 tonnes of food being thrown away in restaurants every year in the Netherlands, it is a saving of 1,275,000 kilograms of food waste. In CO2, that is a saving of 2,422,500.00 CO2 e-kg which equals almost 593 years of household electricity saved! Not unimportantly, it is also a financial saving of more than Euro 8,9 million in an industry that is struggling with very low margins as a result of competition and increasing labour and food costs. The results will be presented at the Future Trends Lab at the Horecava trade fair in Amsterdam in January 2020.

Why is it so important to run a challenge like this? “We are aiming to show the participating restaurants that with small and inexpensive interventions, also called ‘nudges’, we can realise significant changes with regards to reducing food waste. In doing so, the objectives are (1) to motivate restaurants to take additional steps at a later stage to decrease it further and to take (2) the next generation of hospitality leaders i.e., Hotelschool The Hague students along with us on this journey, so when they enter the industry, they will do so with a ‘zero waste’ mindset.” commented Ms Anna de Visser-Amundson.

If you are interested in learning more about this subject and if you understand Dutch, then listen to Rabobank’s latest podcast ‘Food Forward: tackling waste in the hospitality industry together’. Ms Anna de Visser-Amundson (Hotelschool The Hague) and Mr Jos Klerx (Rabobank) advise on how to implement simple but crucial measures yourself. Get inspired and spread the word yourself!