How To Reduce Food Waste In Your Professional Pizza Operation
13 February 2024

How To Reduce Food Waste In Your Professional Pizza Operation

As a pizza professional, the chances are that you’re already looking at ways to reduce food waste across your business. Why? Because according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (“FAO”), “the financial costs of food wastage are substantial and amount to about USD 1 trillion each year”(1). But there are more reasons than just money for working to reduce food waste.

According to FAO, “food wastage also causes serious environmental impacts”(2). After it’s thrown away, the majority of food waste ends up at landfill across the world where it emits methane, which has a global warming potential 25 times that of CO2(3). In fact, food that is lost and wasted accounts for 38 percent of total energy usage in the global food system(4).

Secondly, food waste affects people. Around one third of the world’s children are under-nourished(5), whilst over one third of the world’s adult population is overweight(6). Add that to the fact that an estimated 17% of total global food production is wasted(7), and it’s clear that we are facing a global challenge when it comes to the equal distribution of nutritious food.

How can pizza operators help to tackle food waste?

By its nature, pizza is a fantastic dish for tackling food waste. Whilst pizza is flexible and adaptable, taking many formats and carrying many different ingredients and flavours, the overarching principles of what make a pizza remain broadly the same. This makes it a consistent menu item, which means over-ordering of ingredients is usually less of a challenge, whilst it’s also a brilliant carrier for other ingredients in the kitchen which could otherwise be wasted.

Don’t know where to start? Identify the biggest source of waste in your kitchen and start there

To begin reducing food waste, you need to know what you’re dealing with. Getting to grips with where your food waste comes from allows you to understand what parts of your operation will deliver the biggest wins.

First, ensure you’re separating all your food waste from other general waste and recycling streams, so you can get an accurate picture of how much you are wasting. Then, work out how much of this food waste comes from each of the three main waste sources: Spoilage, Prepara-tion or Plate. The simplest way to do this is by having three buckets or bins, one for each cate-gory.

Once you know where the biggest problems lie, you can start to put operational adjustments into place to help reduce waste in that area. For example:

If your biggest problem is waste from Spoilage then why not try:
  • Ensure clear accountability of monitoring use by dates per shift
  • Using staff meals to consume ingredients nearing their use by dates
  • Use a ‘daily special’ to push dishes more likely to spoil and encourage your front of house teams to push these
If waste from Preparation is your biggest problem, then consider:
  • Designing ‘zero waste’ dishes when developing your next menu
  • Exploring pickling and fermentation to preserve and add new flavours
  • Provide staff with knife skills training to help them maximise ingredients’ value
If you’re wasting lots of food from the Plate, then try:
  • Reducing portion sizes based on food items most frequently wasted
  • Switch or ditch the garnish that’s never eaten
  • Provide takeaway boxes and train staff to offer them to diners Food waste reduction is a continual journey, but one which has the potential to reap the rewards both for your business and the planet.

Want to learn more about tackling food waste in the pizza industry?

Download our guide “Pizza With A Purpose” and get tips, tricks and recipes to help you reduce food waste in your pizza business.

Download Guide

Pizza with Purpose



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