We all have a role to play in the fight against food waste. Australian Food Pact Signatories, Compass Group Australia, share how they are igniting change through their global initiative Stop Food Waste Day. There are great insights into site activations, spreading the food waste message, and engaging with staff and consumers on food waste action.
– Winston Hugh, National Food Waste Reduction Manager, Compass Group Australia .
About your organisation:
Compass Group Australia is a leading food and support services organisation supporting clients in Australia since 1969. A 13,000-strong team of employees, we operate more than 700 locations, serving thousands of people every day through food and support services focused on health and wellbeing.
Why did your business join the Australian Food Pact?
Compass Group Australia proudly became signatories to the Australian Food Waste Pact to create and share solutions and strategies dedicated to food waste prevention.
As a leading procurement and supply chain provider, our commitment is to drive sustainable change at scale across our business. To do this we share our own learnings and work with a like-minded community to show best practice and lessons learned.
We understand that the food waste problem faced by Australia is not a task to be taken solo. The only solution is true collaboration between companies, industry sectors and the government.
What has food waste action looked like in your organisation?
Each year, Compass Group leads Stop Food Waste Day (SFWD), a global day of action in the fight against food waste.
Launched in 2017, the day is recognised in over 40 countries and reaches millions of people. SFWD activations focus on reducing food waste at each of our sites and educating consumers and clients on how to do the same at home.
Celebrated each year on the last Wednesday in April, SFWD has seen support from a number of global organisations, government bodies and notable Members of Parliament, as well as celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver.
Supporting onsite activations, our team members follow five simple steps: 1) Build your event, 2) get your team ready, 3) engage your clients, 4) promote your event, 5) share your story.
Events are easy and scalable.
How does this come to life in your operations?
One example from SFWD 2023 was Chartwells’ sites focusing on 100% utilisation of the humble pumpkin. This zero-waste concept provided a theme for activations and enabled opportunities for education around stopping food waste not only in commercial but at home.
Some other successful activations have included:
Take Over a Station
Highlight zero or low-waste recipes and have your chef take over a station for the day. Utilise marketing and signage to tell the story of your Stop Food Waste Day recipes.
Highlight Your Zero-Waste Recipes and Programs
Create a zero or low-waste food waste menu, or showcase zero-waste snacks to consumers.
Highlight the importance of collaboration and leverage the opportunity to get food waste on your stakeholder and suppliers’ agenda by getting them involved. We leveraged the support of the Australian Food Pact team and had them and other industry partners, such as OzHarvest and Nutrition Australia, join two of our activation events in 2023.
Run a Teaching Kitchen
Teach a ‘leftovers’ class to your guests and show them that they can repurpose and reduce food waste at home.
What have been the positive impacts of taking action to reduce food waste for your business?
Compass Group’s global initiatives to stop food waste have had a number of positive outcomes:
- Increased awareness about the issue of food waste has led to greater commitment and conscious effort among caterers, employees, customers and stakeholders to reduce food waste in the food service industry.
- Employee engagement: Involving our employees in Stop Food Waste Day activities has helped boost employee engagement and morale. When employees feel that they are part of a larger mission to reduce food waste and promote sustainability, they have a sense of purpose and feel more motivated to work towards this goal.
- Improved customer satisfaction: We know that our customers feel good when they’re doing good. Reducing food waste improves customer satisfaction and leads to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Environmental benefits: By reducing food waste, we contribute to environmental sustainability by conserving resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimising the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills.
For others looking to get started or expand their action on food waste, what have you learnt and what advice would you share?
Implementing new practices and initiatives such as SFWD come with some initial challenges but those are far outweighed by the valuable opportunities and learnings.
- Changing established practices: Implementing new processes and procedures to reduce food waste can require changes to established practices and routines. This can sometimes be met with resistance.
- Complex supply chains: Organisations like ours often have advanced supply chains involving multiple suppliers, which may not always allow for quick pivoting or fast access to suppliers.
- Time and resource constraints: Initiatives like SFWD require additional time and resources which may be difficult to accommodate within existing operational constraints.
- Limited consumer awareness: Consumers may not be aware of the issue of food waste and why initiatives like SFWD are critical.
- Scalability is key – SFWD has grown in size since 2017, but the idea of a day or event for food waste education can be scaled as required. Education and action can start with a single site or team and still be impactful, with options to scale up from there.
- Involve staff: Involving staff members in the process helps build buy-in and enthusiasm for the initiative. It may also lead to valuable insights and suggestions for improving SFWD and food waste reduction initiatives.
- Educate consumers: Raise awareness among consumers about SFWD and the steps you are taking to deliver on the program. This can help to build support for your efforts and encourage consumers to participate in the day.