About the pledge
Food waste today is a global issue that needs to be addressed on an urgent basis. A third of all food produced - 1.3 billion tonnes per year - ends up being wasted, and this costs the global economy more than US$1 trillion annually. To illustrate what that means better, if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after America and China.
Notably, food waste sets the UAE back by an average of AED13 billion every year. In line with the UAE’s pledge to cut down food waste by 50 per cent by 2030 to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has prioritised tackling the problem of food waste.
According to data from over 450 sites in 25 countries that was collected by Winnow, a UK- based startup that develops technology used by a growing number of organizations to cut food waste in their operations, restaurant kitchens generate waste that ranges from eight percent to 20 per cent of total food costs. Food waste is the result of overproduction, kitchen errors, spoilage and damaged produce, and food left over on customer plates. In some facilities, the level of food waste can be as high as 40 per cent. Often, this amount can equal, or even surpass, the total net profits of restaurants.
Up until now, converting food waste into energy was seen as the only viable alternative to harmful landfills. Winnow provides an exciting opportunity to prevent food from being wasted and reaching this stage. Preventing food waste, instead of just dealing with the waste, has so far helped its clients save over 18 million meals a year from the bin, the equivalent of more than US$25 million in food cost savings.
Within the hospitality sector, leadership is critical in driving change. Whilst inroads have been made to tackle food waste in homes, there is still a huge opportunity for us to reduce waste in our hospitality and foodservice sector.
That is why the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is calling on hospitality businesses to pledge to fight food waste in their kitchens. Endorsed by His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, the initiative calls on kitchens across the UAE to take on the challenge of reducing waste. In the UAE, hospitality businesses saved over one million meals in 2018, and are set to save 3 million meals yearly by 2020.