A delicious ‘unwanted fruits’ smoothie, or supper at a zero-waste dinner place. Those are options that would appeal to many people of today. Drawing on what we have spotted as “the war on waste trend”, the distaste for waste is now on the rise. Brands also start seeing the potential in repurposing and upscaling food waste. Many inspirational initiatives are popping up, and we have explored a few of them.

According to a study on food trends, that we did together with Foresight Factory in spring 2017, peoples’ distaste for waste is growing. On average 80% of respondents in UK, US and Nordics think that people are far too wasteful when it comes to food. We are all making strides to reduce food waste in our homes, and 60-70% agree that they try to reduce the amount of household waste they produce.

At the same time we are getting more aware of waste generated during production of the things that we consume. Increasingly we have started to object the fact that certain produce is discarded by retailers due to specific quality requirements.

We see that brands have started to respond to this trend with a multitude of initiatives. Leftover and waste from food, drinks, energy, packaging and beauty products, are getting upcycled or repurposed to alternative goods. We also see that consumers often are involved and educated in the process.

A few producers joining and leading this trend: The restaurant Silo in UK, Brighton. Silo opened in 2014 with the aim to go Zero waste. In addition to using up most of the animals when cooking, they also upcycled old furniture, churned their own butter, used old jars were used for glass, and formed plates from plastic bags. Silo became the first zero-waste restaurant in UK. 

Another example that we spotted is Operation Dagger in Singapore, who puts food that would otherwise go to waste on its menu. Serving pickled watermelon rinds as snacks and empty vanilla pods as straws, the cocktail bar also hosted a Potential Wasteland workshop in 2016 to educate customers about ingredients.

In summer 2016, UK restaurant Duck & Waffle launched a range of cocktails dubbed Urban Foraging vs Urban Decay, which contained waste food products such as burnt toast and asparagus ends, as well as foraged ingredients like pollen.

The company Snact buys ugly and unwanted fruit from British farmers to act on food waste. The fruit is blended into a smoothie then dried into fruit jerky on a family farm in Kent. The packaging is home compostable helping them to reduce waste even further.

Those were just some examples, but all in all we find the awareness and richness of initiatives in this field really inspiring, as we are continuously working to reduce the food waste in our own restaurants.

Jonny Zackrisson, Head of Quality and Environment at Fazer Food Services Sweden, puts it like this: “We have found a model to reduce our food waste in our business, which is largely based on a great commitment from our employees”. He continues: “By continuously measuring, controlling and creating commitment, we have managed to reduce our food waste in Sweden by about 16% in the past year, which corresponds to about 168 tons of food.”

Jonny also points out the responsibility that he sees in helping our chain of suppliers to reduce the food waste. He exemplifies how that responsibility is taken, often all the way down to the farmers: “For instance we purchase many vegetables that do not hold the right appearance, often referred to as” ugly vegetables”. “By acting openly with our environmental goals and seek cooperation with our suppliers, we have found this work much more successful and easy, he concludes.

 If you are interested and want to know more read our guide on how to reduce food waste