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HOTELIERS TACKLE FOOD WASTE
· 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism
· 7 out of 10 have introduced measures to tackle waste
· 75% moved to new purchasing methods to reduce waste
· New guidelines announced
· Over 80 million guest meals served annually offering significant scope for food waste reduction
Monday, 27th February 2017 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 one million 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 (72%) have introduced measures that are proving successful.
The IHF survey shows that amongst those hoteliers who are actively addressing the issue:
- Eight out of ten (80%) have changed how they purchase their ingredients – from adjusting quantities that they buy to sourcing more produce that is seasonal or local.
- Over one third (39%) have reduced portion sizes and are offering seconds to guests instead.
- One in six (17%) now offer guests the option of a food box for any uneaten portion of their meal.
According to Mr Joe Dolan, President, IHF, 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,” says Mr Dolan.
Mr Dolan adds that 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 80 million 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.”
Mr Dolan concludes that the measures that hoteliers are introducing can apply to all kitchens and not just commercial premises. “What we are doing has potential beyond our own kitchens. Around 88 million tonnes of food is wasted annually in the EU alone, with associated costs of approximately €143 billion³. With 8.8 million 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.”
Ger McCarthy/ Siobhan Molloy Dublin office: 01 6798600
Weber Shandwick Mobile: 086 233 3590 / 086 817 5066
² HOTREC European Hospitality Industry Guidelines to reduce food waste
³ Fusions report: Estimates of European food waste levels This report estimates that food services, which includes event catering, contract catering, canteens as well as hospitality generates 12% of total food waste in Europe. In comparison, according to the same report, households generate 53% of total food waste and the processing industry produces 19%, for example.
Tourism at a Glance
· 8.8 million Overseas visitors, up 769,000 (9.6%)
- Tourism accounts for almost 4% GNP
- Total tourism revenue of €8.25 billion in 2016, up 7.1% compared with 2015
- €6.49 billion foreign exchange earnings in 2016, up 8.6% on 2015
- €1.76 billion in domestic tourism revenue in 2016, up 2% on 2015
· 820 Hotels (807 in 2015) and 57,596 Hotel bedrooms (56,937 in 2015)
· 199 Guesthouses (204 in 2015) and 2,532 Guesthouse bedrooms (2,598 in 2015)
- Total of 60,128 hotel and guesthouse bedrooms in Ireland (59,535 in 2015)
About the IHF
Founded in 1937, the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) is the national organisation of the hotel and guesthouse industry in Ireland. It represents just over 1,000 hotels and guesthouses nationwide, employing almost 60,000 people and is a key stakeholder in the Irish tourism sector.