Hospitality businesses in Scotland are being urged to help tackle the rising scourge of food waste and other food inefficiencies after it was estimated that one in six meals are wasted across the country. This waste is costing Scotland close to £212 million a year.

The initiative has been launched by Zero Waste Scotland, a non-government organisation aimed at slashing the country’s carbon footprint. The nation’s hospitality sector has been identified as a key player in helping Scotland meet targets set by government to cut food waste by one third by 2025.

“Food waste is a villain that we can fight with basic good professional practice,” said Gary Maclean, MasterChef winner and Scotland’s National Chef. “Making sure that we buy, prepare and serve food in the most efficient, considered ways possible shows respect for our planet, our businesses and our customers.”

To help hospitality businesses identify where they can make reductions, Zero Waste Scotland are offering food waste audits. As part of this, the organisation will help to target potential problem areas, measure what is being wasted and recommend what can be done to improve this. Looking at every stage from purchasing to plate waste, specialists will also look for any other processes that may help food related businesses to meet forthcoming changes to legislation.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “In our current climate emergency, it simply isn’t good enough to continue to operate in the wasteful ways of the past. Our audits are designed to identify where catering businesses can be more efficient and make more with the resources they have. We’re looking for achievable tweaks that businesses can make and do their bit that work for them and Scotland’s environment. Food waste is a huge contributor to carbon emissions and catering businesses can play a significant role in reducing this impact. If businesses take steps to address their waste it will pay-off for all of us.”