President of MTU Prof. Maggie Cusack , Savour Food Programme Manager Keelin Tobin, MTU and Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and launching the new e-tool for foodservice businesses by the Savour Food Programme. Photo: Darragh Kane

New e-tool to help foodservice businesses tackle food waste

Reducing food waste should be on the menu for all Irish foodservice businesses this year. As part of the Savour Food Programme, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, a new e-tool for foodservice businesses has been launched.

It is estimated that every year the Irish food sector wastes 150,000 tonnes of food. Food waste has been calculated to cost €2.73 - €3.50 per kilogram.

That’s according to the Less Food Waste More Profit publication from the Clean Technology Centre at Munster Technological University (MTU). The main sources of food waste in the Irish foodservice sector are plate waste (38 per cent), preparation waste (35 per cent) and unserved food waste (27 per cent). If food waste cannot be prevented, donating or distributing to people is the next best option.

Savour Food is a food waste reduction programme for businesses and it aims to bring about sustained change in Irish businesses in terms of food waste prevention. Savour Food is now offering a free online facility where foodservice businesses can assess how much food waste might be costing and what they can do across the business to reduce it. The e-tool is free to use and can be found at

Using it, businesses can identify the true cost of food waste generated by their business, obtain a food waste benchmark which can be compared against national standards for good practice and identify the cost saving that could be achieved by reducing food waste to good practice standards.

Announcing the launch of the e-tool, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said: “Last Wednesday (week) marked International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Food Waste so it is an ideal time to announce the launch of the Savour Food E-Tool which can be used free of charge by all food service businesses to assist with food waste reduction. This ties in with the ambition of the Department’s strategy Food Vision 2030 which provides a path forward to half food waste in Ireland by 2030. “The hospitality and food services sector is responsible for over 200,000 tonnes of food waste generated each year. Across the Irish food service sector approximately two-thirds of food waste is potentially avoidable. Total food waste equates to an annual cost well in excess of €300m for the food service sector as a whole so this e-tool is a vital resource for any food business.”

Savour Food Programme Manager, Keelin Tobin said: “Chefs and staff in hospitality are so skilled. They are important stakeholders in the fight against food waste and that is why I am delighted that this online tool both showcases what is already being done in the sector, as well as providing a support for any foodservice business endeavouring to reduce food waste. It’s good for business and it’s good for our planet.”

The Savour Food programme provides a free service to food businesses that includes direct consultancy, food waste prevention training and advice on legal obligations in relation to food waste management. The Savour Food Programme is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine. The programme is managed by the by the Clean Technology Centre, MTU Cork, and supported by stakeholders.