Professional workshop on food waste reduction in the hospitality and food services sector

The EU-funded Hungarian SMP-FOOD-2022-FoodWaste-NCA project recently organised a workshop on measuring and reducing food waste in the catering sector, involving national stakeholders.

The workshop was organised on the 17th of November 2023, by the project leader Food Chain Safety Centre, and Project Wasteless, the national food waste prevention programme of Hungary – operated by the National Food Chain Safety Office. The aim of the workshop was to discuss recent updates of EU food waste policies with national stakeholders, and to address challenges to measure and reduce food waste in the hospitality and food services sector. Besides that, participants also gained insight about the main objectives and outcomes of SMP-FOOD-2022-FoodWaste-NCA project, including:

  • identifying challenges of science-based food waste measurement methods;
  • collecting new food waste data in households, retail, and restaurants and food services sectors;
  • adopting food waste measurement guidelines in line with Commission Delegated Decision (EU) 1597/2019;
  • involvement of national stakeholders for knowledge exchange.

Several professional actors participated in the event, representing advocacy associations, civil organisations, business operators, research institutions and public authorities. During the plenary session, the experts of the project introduced the mandatory food waste reporting exercise, and the legally binding reduction targets proposed by the European Commission. Researchers of the project presented the results of recent sectoral food waste measurement studies, and the activities of Project Wasteless.

The second half of the event was an interactive session, when participants shared their thoughts and experiences. They were asked to identify the main sectoral challenges that need to be addressed in terms of food waste reduction. The following elements have been defined:

  • Canteen infrastructural features (e.g. ambiance, furniture, arrangement and size of the serving unit);
  • Food quality (e.g. taste, ingredients);
  • Logistical and organizational issues (e.g. time for eating, queue);
  • Serving (e.g. portion size, serving system, serving temperature);
  • Serving staff (e.g. knowledge, cooperation with teachers and students);
  • Students’ preferences, community norms;
  • Utilization of unserved food (e.g. donation, animal feeding).

As an outcome of the event, the experts will set up a problem map and propose possible solutions for the identified challenges that can help food service providers. This will be carried out with the coordination of Project Wasteless.

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