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Guardians of Grub assemble!

Influential Guardians of Grub Ambassadors from across the UK hospitality and food service sector, convened in London for a special roundtable summit organised by climate action NGO WRAP and hosted by BM Caterers. The meeting agreed a set of actions to help the sector reduce its 1.1 million tonne food waste footprint.

The ambassadors, who are joined by two new members this year, renewed their commitment to tackling food waste by releasing a joint statement:

‘As Guardians of Grub Ambassadors, we recognise the urgent need to act now to reduce costs in hospitality and food service by tackling food waste. We are committed to helping those in our sector reduce both the financial costs associated with food waste and the environmental cost of wasting food. Only by working together can we accelerate the pace of change across the sector, and we call upon everyone to try the Guardians of Grub Cost Saving Skills Course and the free tools to help protect your profits, and our planet, by reducing food waste together.’

Food waste costs the hospitality and food service sector an estimated £3.2 billion every year, with one kilogram of wasted food producing three times its own weight in harmful greenhouse gases. To tackle this the Guardians of Grub campaign was launched in 2019 by WRAP to raise awareness and provide a series of free resources for businesses including free courses: Cost Saving Skills 15 minute module and e-learning Becoming a Champion.

The ambassadors play a key role in the campaign, raising awareness of the unnecessary harm that food waste is doing to business by sharing real life examples, and directing companies towards the free resources. The ambassadors attending (photographed) included: Andrea Zick, Oxo Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie, Alex Hall, Unilever Food Solutions, Nick Vadis, Compass, Phil Shelley, NHS, Abbey Short, Olympia London, Vince Kelly, Westminster Kingsway College, Mark Belford on behalf of Paul Mannering, HIT Training, Pete Redman, BM Caterers, Peter Cross, University of West London and Mike Hanson, BaxterStorey.

Emma McCLarkin, CEO British Beer and Pub Association has joined as an ambassador, with UKHospitality becoming an official supporting partner.

WRAP is encouraging more high profile sector influencers to contact the environmental organisation to join the ranks.

Eleanor Morris, senior sector specialist hospitality and food service WRAP, said: ‘We are delighted to bring together the passionate and dedicated Guardians of Grub Ambassadors for the first time, and to have the group set out this collective ambition. Each has been hugely active in promoting food waste prevention within their work and to the sector, and in helping to inspire and enthuse the sector towards action in multiple businesses.

‘Food waste is a massive cost issue at a time of great challenge for the sector, here and in other countries. There are many reasons that the hospitality and food service sector has found it challenging to act on wasted food, but there has never been a more business critical time to address this. It is imperative to have these committed and driven ambassadors to help reach as many sites as we can. We invite wider sector influencers and leaders to join them and our supporting partners to spread the Guardians of Grub message and protect profits and the planet.

‘Look out for the Guardians of Grub throughout 2023 as we work to engage more of the sector in reducing food waste. You can next see us during Food Waste Action Week, which this year runs between 6 to 12 March 2023.’

This latest summit was an opportunity for the ambassadors to collaborate in person for the first time, as well as enjoy food produced by BM Caterers’ chef director Pete Redman and his team, made with elements of perfectly edible food which might usually be wasted. The ambassadors discussed the practical steps businesses can take across the various disciplines, from management to kitchen and front of house, and how best to address issues that cause food waste in preparation, plate waste and spoilage.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: ‘I am delighted to become a Guardians of Grub Ambassador and support WRAP with the excellent work it is doing to reduce food waste. The pub and brewing sector is committed to putting sustainability at the heart of their businesses and our members’ pubs are already putting the Guardians of Grub resources to good use enabling them to feed people - not bins.

‘Robinsons Brewery is a prime example of this with a number of its pubs already demonstrating annual savings of upwards of £2000 as a result of using WRAP’s resources. At the BBPA, and in my role as a Guardians of Grub Ambassador, we will continue to encourage our members to make the most of the Guardians of Grub resources to help them not only save money but also reduce emissions as part of their net zero ambitions.’

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, said: ‘I am delighted that UKHospitality is becoming an official supporting partner of the Guardians of Grub campaign. Reducing food waste is a critical part of hospitality’s goal to reach net zero, with an ambition to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030, and I know it is top of the agenda for venues when thinking about sustainability.

‘There is a wealth of tools and resources available from the Guardians of Grub and I would urge all hospitality businesses to dive in to see what easy steps they can take to reduce food waste.’

Wendy Bartlett, founder BM Caterers, said: ‘Finding ways we can reduce food waste is important to us. Our chef director Pete Redman's ‘waste-ed’ cooking initiative that he is showcasing, is full of imaginative and innovative ways to use up food which would otherwise go in the bin. Reducing food waste keeps food out of landfill and releases less CO2e into the atmosphere generated in the production process. It also makes economic sense by reducing food purchase and disposal costs. This is important to our teams, clients and customers which is why BM Caterers supports the Guardians of Grub mission.’

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