Large portions a problem as IHF targets waste at annual conference

  • 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism 
  • 7 out of 10 have introduced measures to tackle waste
  • 75pc moved to new purchasing methods to reduce waste
  • New guidelines announced 
  • 80m guest meals served annually
  • significant scope for food waste reduction

A choice of portion sizes and second helpings along with offers of a food box may soon be common place as hotel and guest house owners across the country introduce a range of measures to help reduce the amount of food waste that occurs in their kitchens and dining rooms.

In Ireland, approximately 1m tonnes of food waste is disposed each year¹. Although hotels represent a small share of food waste², new guidelines to reduce waste have been introduced at EU level to mark the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The hotel and guesthouse sector here is already taking action and according to an industry survey for the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) for its 79th Annual Conference in the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny most (72pc) have introduced measures that are proving successful.

The IHF survey shows that amongst those hoteliers who are actively addressing the issue:

  • 80pc have changed how they purchase their ingredients – from adjusting quantities that they buy to sourcing more produce that is seasonal or local.
  • 39pc have reduced portion sizes and are offering seconds to guests instead.
  • 17pc offer guests the option of a food box for any uneaten portion of their meal.

Joe Dolan, President, IHF said, we tend to give larger portions in ireland. The amount of waste involved in that is enormous. You have good planning, purchasing and prepping of ingredients can significantly help in reducing waste and there is already growing awareness amongst hoteliers of the steps they can take in their own premises. “This can vary from something as simple as ensuring that the right peeler is used for vegetables to calculating quantities more precisely. The industry faces unique challenges in balancing the need to provide choice, quality and variety in their menus, while minimising waste. However, he says that reducing food waste is a “win win” situation for hotels, generating positive environmental results along with economic benefits for hoteliers too. “Over 80m guest meals are served in Ireland every year, so the potential for food waste is very real. In tackling the matter hoteliers are acting responsibly and contributing towards the resolution of a global environmental problem. The savings they are making through best practice food waste management are also contributing to their own cost competitiveness. What we are doing has potential beyond our own kitchens. Around 88m tonnes of food is wasted annually in the EU alone, with associated costs of approximately €143bn³. With 8.8m overseas visitors to Ireland last year as well as home grown tourists we have the opportunity to reach a lot of people as an industry and help create better awareness of the value of food and how everyone can help reduce food waste.”

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