Taste Not Waste

Around one million tonnes of food are thrown away by UK hospitality and food businesses each year. That is equivalent to 18% of all food purchased in that sector, or one in six meals served, ending in the bin! In fact, three quarters of food wasted is still edible, meaning current practices waste precious natural resources and divert good food away from those in need.

Cambridge Sustainable Food is helping restaurants, catering businesses and food outlets across the city to measure and reduce their food waste as part of its ‘Taste Not Waste’ programme. Funded by Cambridge City Council and with support from the waste experts at WRAP, our programme offers free resources to help businesses cut their environmental impact, save money and attract new customers, who are increasingly looking for eco-conscious food outlets.

We have been working closely with the kitchen and catering teams at MillWorks, Cambridge Cookery, The Edge Café, Sidney Sussex College and more to monitor the amount of food that is thrown away. We help businesses to identify and trial a range of measures to cut food waste such as plate waste reduction campaigns to encourage diners to only take what they can eat, trialling different portion sizes to lower the amount of food left on plates, and giving diners more choice over their sides rather than serving something they may not eat.

As a result of participating in the Taste Not Waste programme, Selwyn College introduced self-service veg for staff and students in their dining hall, reducing their plate waste by 12%! The team at Smokeworks have been trialling meal size choices, offering optional slaw and pickles and promoting takeaway boxes to their customers. And Rob and the team at the Tickell Arms have found the programme so useful that they’ve measured their food waste throughout March to see how their different menus affect their food waste! They’ve also started composting their peelings to feed their restaurant’s veg garden. Our work has also revealed lots of great, existing food waste reducing stories from around the city from the likes of Queens’ College, Nanna Mexico and St John’s College, to name but a few.

In February we were delighted to announce that Cambridge Cookery have become the city’s first zero-food-waste café after joining our ‘Taste Not Waste’ programme. As well as using left-over ingredients from their kitchen and suppliers to cook meals for Jimmy’s homeless shelter, the cafe and bistro also offer many dishes in a choice of sizes, as well as takeaway boxes on request, to reduce the amount left on customers’ plates.

Be sure to check out our ‘Taste Not Waste’ chefs’ competition which challenges chefs from restaurants, cafes and caterers across Cambridge to conjure up a delicious main course or dessert, based on what would normally go to waste in their kitchens. The winning recipe will be chosen by Tristan Welch, Chef Director at Parker’s Tavern and the winner will receive a prize of a weekday lunch for two at the city’s first zero-food waste cafe, Cambridge Cookery! Find out more about the competition and how to enter here.

To find out more about Taste Not Waste and our free resources visit our website or email us at gemma@cambridgesustainablefood.org.


CSF Admin