Olympia London looks to eradicate food waste at its venue

UK events venue, Olympia London, is joining forces with the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to tackle food waste. The venue, which hosts dozens of events each year including food & drink trade shows such as the Specialty Fine Food Fair and the European Tea, Coffee and Soft Drinks Expo, is encouraging all staff and catering partners to monitor personal and corporate wastage with the goal to completely drop food waste from its menu.

WRAP works with businesses and communities to promote a healthy “circular economy by helping to reduce waste, develop sustainable products and use resources in an efficient way”. Taking part in national campaign Guardians of Grub, Olympia London joins the Hospitality & Food service industry’s awareness drive.

Figures reveal that 1/3 of all produce is thrown away, and in the corporate environment, the Hospitality & Food service industry wastes 1 million tonnes each year. According to Guardians of Grub, 75% of it is edible and, if re-purposed, could reduce a current loss of £2.9 billion.

Olympia London is spearheading the message ‘your business is food; don’t throw it away’ and signing its onsite catering partners up to WRAP’s new campaign. The venue is tracking waste by measuring deteriorated food, preparation waste, inedible waste and plate waste.

In addition to catering partners, the venue is inviting all staff to get involved and measure their own food waste during September; plus offering tips on portion control (reducing plate waste) and planning meals / shopping smarter to avoid food going out of date.

Olympia London has sent zero waste to landfill for over a decade; with a recycling rate of 98% and the remaining 2% sent to an anaerobic digestion plant, where green energy and fertiliser are produced. The venue’s goal is to completely eradicate food waste.

In the past year, Olympia London has further optimised waste segregation across onsite catering. This facilitates the process when using food waste for bio fuel purposes.

In addition, food surplus left onsite is distributed to those who need the most through a partnership with City Harvest, a charity which distributes more than 12 tonnes of food every week, which benefits the local community; including Barons Court Project, Olympia London’s nominated charity of the year.

A partnership between onsite catering partners and some event organisers ensures excess edible food is distributed to local food banks.

In a pioneering move, the venue recently introduced a successful ‘pop-up’ restaurant with a plant-based menu. Available to organisers, it can be purpose-built on the show-floor to suit each event layout. The menu, portion sizes and operation have been designed to reduce food waste, delivering impressive results: it produced less than 2% waste, compared to a 37% industry average; and met visitor demand for a healthier and more sustainability-conscious offer.

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