Survey sheds light on industry food waste


New research conducted by Lime Venue Portfolio, in partnership with BCD Meetings and Events, has underlined the need for the event industry to take a lead in tackling food waste. The findings form part of Chapter One of the Beyond Food Report, which is out today, and puts a spotlight on the issue and encourages organisers to take steps to address it.

The research surveyed over 60 event organisers and showed that:

  • just under a third of event professionals admit to throwing away at least 15% of the food they commission at events.
  • 18% said it was closer to 20%.
  • 2% claimed that the amount exceeded 20%.

“Every day we hear about food shortages in the world, and we should be all playing our part to reduce food waste wherever we can. Event organisers are well placed to advise and support clients, caterers and venues with their food orders and work with them to tackle this issue,” commented Jo Austin, sales director, Lime Venue Portfolio.

Jo continued: “These findings are alarming but won’t be completely surprising to those who work in the industry. We all know too well how the fear of running out can lead to over ordering, but these statistics lay bare the amount of food waste that is being generated, that could be prevented. As leaders in the events industry, I’m proud that Lime Venue Portfolio are bringing this issue to light and looking at practical and measurable ways to solve it.”

The research also demonstrated how important tackling food waste is to delegates at an event. The survey also demonstrated that of all food-based event feedback, a high proportion was on waste. Further findings of the research also show the types of food that are being wasted:

  • Salad accounts for just under 40% 
  • Breads at 16%
  • Desserts at 13%
  • Vegetable side dishes at 11%

The groups that were thrown away least were ‘alternative tastes such as spicy food (1.5%), ‘fruit’ and ‘alternative mains e.g. gluten, vegan, veg etc.,’ which accounted for just under 5% each. 

As well as highlighting the subject of food waste, the report also looks to address it, with some top tips in avoiding #FORO; 

  • Bring guests into the conversation, from the outset
  • Get the numbers right
  • Create new menu formats, plants then meat
  • Use everything
  • Get chefs out into the event
  • Share the numbers

John Kelly, director, Marketing EMEA, BCD Meetings & Events, commented, “We need a modern approach to food. We need to break up traditional formats of buffet spreads and gala dinners and incorporate food in a way that adds to the experience. For me, it’s about getting the chefs out onto the floor, cooking to order and interacting with the guests. This maintains a stronger control over what’s going out and how much wastage there is.” 

Molly Hookings
Author: Molly Hookings

Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: