Food Waste is high up on the national agenda following the BBC series ‘Hugh’s War on Waste’ and over 288,000 people have signed the #wastenot petition campaigning for supermarkets to take action.
We teamed up with London-based technology start-up Winnow on a pilot project to cut food waste in our Winchester restaurant. Winnow’s smart meter helps chefs measure and manage food waste by recording what’s thrown in the bin.
Using Winnow’s smart meter the team at River Cottage Canteen Winchester have seen pre-consumer food waste reduced by a third in just over two months - that's six tonnes (or the equivalent of four Toyota Priuses!) saved from going in to landfill every year.
In the kitchen, the team used the Winnow system to create a league table to foster friendly competition between staff. Data from Winnow’s reporting highlighted where changes could be made to operations. For example; citrus peels are being now being salted and preserved or candied, burger buns have been reduced in size and the recipe adjusted, unrecoverable vegetable trimmings are collected by a local organic farm to be turned into compost.
Responding to the success of the pilot, Hugh said: "Food waste is an issue that affects all kitchens, and inevitably we're often too busy to understand what is being wasted and why. Winnow’s smart meter has helped us measure where food is wasted in our restaurant, and quickly points us to areas we can make changes.
"The River Cottage team was quick to buy into the project, and to feel the benefits: in less than 3 months, we've already reduced waste by a third by value. And we’re hoping to drive waste down even further. It’s clear that many others in our sector could benefit from using Winnow to reduce their waste and costs. It’s a real no-brainer for the hospitality industry."
Marc Zornes, Winnow CEO & Founder added: "The team at River Cottage got behind the initiative to reduce waste from day one and we're thrilled to see significant reductions in waste having used Winnow. Having worked in over 200 kitchens we've consistently seen waste cut in half, increasing profitability whilst doing the right thing for the environment at the same time. The results at River Cottage is testimony to the opportunity facing the whole hospitality sector.”