Horeca wastes 5.6 million kilograms less food - but still close to 650 million euros

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13 September 2023

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Hospitality industry can improve margin by reducing food waste

Set against turnover in the classic hospitality industry of 11 billion euros (source FSIN), the value of total waste is -9.2% of total market turnover. At a 50% reduction (target), a margin improvement of 2.95% is possible. Assuming an average margin (EBITDA) of 15%, this therefore means that the margin can be improved by 19.6% by reducing food waste. This would have a major impact on future-proofing for many hospitality companies.

Hospitality industry on track to meet 2030 target

The hospitality industry is well on its way to achieving the goal of 50% less food waste by 2030. Hotels in particular are doing well. They have already wasted over 17% less compared to 2019. Restaurants will have to accelerate to increase the current -9% to a halving. During the various challenges we have done, we see that restaurants are also well capable of achieving this.

Den Bosch can eat almost a year's worth of catering waste

An average Dutch person eats about 1 kilogram of food per day (source: RIVM). Assuming 55.4 million kilograms of food is wasted in the hospitality industry, this means 151,780 people could eat annually. Thus, a city the size of Den Bosch, which has 155,000 inhabitants, could eat almost an entire year's worth of the total waste that occurs in the Dutch catering industry.

Infographic Food Waste Challenge Rabobank

Food Waste Challenge 2023 shows better results

During the 2022-2023 Food Waste Challenge, companies reduced waste by 28%. This shows that with effort, a significant proportion of food can be saved in the short term. During the 2019 Food Waste Challenge, we saw companies waste 21% less food. This improvement in results is due in part to an intensification of the program, but also to the need perceived by catering companies to reduce food waste.

The fact that the industry is wasting less now than in 2019 is in part due to rising costs within the hospitality industry. As a result, hotels and restaurants are looking for ways to improve margins.

Tips for combating food waste:

  1. Awareness (understanding where and how much waste there is);
  2. Engagement (get staff motivated to fight waste);
  3. Menu engineering (put fewer dishes on your menu + adjust portioning);
  4. Use data to better understand what and when your guests eat;