Boris Johnson puts food waste in the spotlight for London’s hospitality businesses

London mayor Boris Johnson is urging restaurants, pubs and hotels across the capital to sign up to a new scheme that could significantly reduce food waste, saving thousands of pounds in the process.

The Food Save scheme, which launched last November, has already helped 15 of the capital’s small hospitality businesses prevent 70 stone of food going to waste and save more than £100,000 a year.

Now, the Mayor’s office is inviting 200 more small food businesses to apply for the free scheme.

“With Food Save, cafes, pubs and restaurants are learning simple ways to reduce the amount of food they throw away and saving thousands of pounds in the process,” said the Mayor’s environment adviser Matthew Pencharz. “The mayor now wants hundreds more businesses to get on board this great free scheme and help us dramatically reduce food waste across the city.”

Pencharz visited the Imperial gastropub on the King’s Road in Chelsea – one of the businesses that has signed up to the scheme – to see the waste reduction methods it has introduced.

The Imperial is on track to save £10,000 and prevent almost one tonne of food waste a year by offering different portion sizes – measuring out sides in cups and using leftover inventory for their ‘soup of the day’ and special menu items.

“FoodSave has been an eye-opener and has really helped us identify precisely the areas where we were wasting food and enabled us to come up with solutions,” said the pub’s director Kate MacWhirter.

“We’ve changed the size of and ingredients for certain dishes and have created daily delicious specials with food that would historically have gone to waste. The amount we are saving is enough to help pay for another member of staff, which is fantastic.”

The Food Save scheme is funded by the Mayor of London, the European Regional Development Fund and the London Waste and Recycling Board. It is being delivered by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), which runs detailed audits for foodservice businesses to analyse the food waste they produce.

“FoodSave is making very good progress towards its ultimate target to divert more than 1,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill, reduce more than 150 tonnes of food waste and save businesses over £350,000,” said Victoria Moorhouse, senior operations manager at the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

“The power of what we are doing with Food Save is measuring the impact these interventions make to food waste and the resulting cost savings. By making staff aware of what they are throwing away and how this impacts the bottom line helps to shape behaviour change and this is the key to making change last. The lessons we learn will help us to drive down food waste across the UK hospitality sector, saving businesses money while also diverting waste from landfill.”

Research by the Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP) indicates that more than 1.3 billion meals are wasted annually in UK’s hospitality and foodservice sector, with an extra £32million spent sending food waste to landfill this year alone.

Results from the first 15 businesses in Food Save scheme show an average reduction of 1.6 tonnes of actual food waste annually, saving of more than £6,000 in direct food costs. Two of the business are predicted to save more than £10,000, with one expected to save a huge £24,000.

For more information on Food Save and information on how to take part, visit




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