25 Apr 2017

Food Waste in Restaurants is a growing problem in Asia

Food Waste in Restaurants and in the home

Food waste in restaurants and in the home is a growing problem, with America typically being the country most people associate food waste with. Indeed to date it is the number one offender from a global perspective. It is also the first major country trying to deal with this escalating ‘international’ problem with some ground breaking ideas and solutions. Sadly Asia’s food wastage problem is following at an alarming rate, close on the heels of the USA. Food waste in Singapore, as just one example, is an escalating problem and rising fast. It is growing globally and even the BBC is talking about it on their mainstream news.

More than half a billion people in the Asian Pacific area go hungry every year. So isn’t it about time, since Asia is now recorded wasting nearly a staggering 50 percent of food produced, that we all did something about it?

Food Waste in Restaurants infographic
Appetti’s Food Waste Infographic

Where does Asia Waste food?

Throughout 2016 Asia’s food wastage was broken down into the following wastage brackets:

  • 17 percent lost during production
  • 23 percent in handling and storage
  • 2 percent in processing procedures
  • 11 percent in distribution
  • 46 percent in consumption

That’s enough to raise more than an eyebrow. Source: http://globalasiablog.com/

Why not visit the World Resources Institute  website which is an excellent information source on this and other issues?

Food waste in Restaurants

At consumption level the main offenders, not surprisingly, are hotels and restaurants. In fact, food waste in restaurants is staggering. It turns out the food waste in the home in general is improving fast, no doubt due to the negative and regular publicity surrounding this now global problem, resulting in much improved household awareness.

Businesses must put programmes, methods and wastage solutions into practise and reduce food waste in restaurants

Have a look at our earlier blog about a specific incident of food wastage!

Food waste solutions

For restaurants and chefs, restaurant food waste management should become part of a ‘business as usual’ routine. Providing for a more sustainable and green future really isn’t as hard as some make it out to be and some food waste solutions really are just common sense.

The most obvious of food waste solutions is composting, since nearly 50 percent of food ordered ends up in land fill (another problem on it’s own).

By creating their own restaurant herb/produce gardens where possible, this can be done on a rooftop or window ledge too. So by feeding it their own ‘home grown fertilizer’ they can help to improve their companies global foot print substantially. Sharing herb gardens with other local dining venues can also be a means of extra income.

Winnow Solutions

Winnow Solutions is a successful ‘Green’ company whose ethos is based on providing specialised technology. Technology that is specifically designed for the busier kitchen, such as you find in hotels and restaurants. Winnow’s product aims to provide systems that report on transparent and measurable data. Easily identifying areas within the business to reduce restaurant food waste. They can quite literally cut food wastage in half and save between 3-8 percent on total food costs. Another bonus is their customer service centre. So they are always there to talk owners and chefs through the steps of managing kitchens, costs and wastage more efficiently. So how do Winnows reduce food waste in restaurants?

Food waste in restaurants image
Food wastage software’s available from Winnows

How Winnow increase profitability

Winnow Solutions Cloud software analyses and records the day’s waste based on recorded input. The menu integration allows the system to automatically record a number of key metrics. Thus customers can easily see where they need to make changes in their system to reduce food wastage.


Winnows have helped establishments, including some major hotel groups. Look at the Pullman Dubai Creek. They achieved a 4% reduction in food purchasing cost in only 4 months. Winnow Solutions support for Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit is just another fine example of how this program works. Winnow managed to save them over $60,000 by reducing food waste. Want to see more case studies?

Food waste in restaurants image 2
Recording and Storing food waste

Westin Singapore and Alpha Biofuels

One food waste problem in Singapore has been addressed whole heartedly by management at The Westin. They now recycle old cooking oil, as one example. Through a transformation process, helped and advised by Alpha Biofuels, they now have enough fuel to power two of their Jaguar Limousines. That’s some 150,000 kilometres per annum from old oil! Worth a thought!

Managed stocks

Stick to the picking list; over ordering, especially fresh produce is a huge element of food waste in restaurants. By only getting what they need, controlling portion size, halting the ‘all you can eat’ style buffets and adjusting menus. This way, optimisation of leftovers, can help in controlling this global epidemic.

Create accountability

Another way to help alleviate this massive problem is to create someone accountable for the problem. A  position of a Food Waste Management Officer within the management structure. He/she will be able to track, analyse and calculate the restaurant food waste cost. Providing food waste solutions that work, such as food storage, labelling, organization of food bought per date purchased etc.

By anticipating items that will spoil first, they can create a ‘specials board’, to help sell such foods, Achieving a profit from produce that would normally hit landfill. Enabling comparisons between goods purchased and the quantity of waste generated, using foods such as fat trimmings and fruit rinds, changing menus to optimize leftovers all help. In other words, RECYCLE.

Food waste in restaurants image 3
Smart Software


On the subject of recycling the Food bank Singapore are always open for food donations. They even collect donations of unused food. Then  supplying over 10 other beneficiaries including family service centres and charities. These in turn provide ‘potential landfill produce’ to the needy. In just about every country world wide, organizations like this are available for donations.

Since, as mentioned, the USA is the largest offender let’s look at how through just one method they are tackling this ever growing problem:

It isn’t just Asia!

Other countries in Europe are also addressing the food wastage problems like the French and the Italians.

The French embrace the Doggy Bag!

In Italy it’s a “Family Bag”

Asia and the Far East in general need to address this problem with more haste, enthusiasm, commitment and pure dedication. Before they leap ahead of the West in this embarrassing ‘foodie’ dilemma. The more that people work in collaboration with each other with sensible ‘green’ heads on their shoulders, the sooner this global food wastage epidemic can come under some sort of control.

The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that just a one-quarter reduction in food wasted or lost globally, would be sufficient to feed the 870 million people suffering from chronic hunger across the world.

A final, albeit a somewhat sobering thought to think about.

Jonathan Bloom writes a lot of sense about managing food waste on his site Wasted Food. Why don’t you take a look?


AUTHOR: Appetti