Food Banks for Events’ Food Waste
As you probably already know, the Events Industry produces a lot of food excess and catering waste.
Firstly, we often have to cater for hundreds of guests. This leaves us with a huge food excess that will most likely not be consumed.
Therefore, to become more sustainable, several Event Management companies have attempted using Food Banks to manage their food waste.
Some have indeed succeeded; however, the vast majority have clashed with a brick wall. Food Banks have a lot of restrictions regarding which food they can accept.
Read our Blog about Sustainability in the Events Industry here!
Food Bank Restrictions
To start with, most Food Banks can only accept uncooked, packaged or tinned food. Also, they will almost never accept fresh produce. To top it up, they have to consider food allergies.
This means that the food needs to be perfectly labelled. Sometimes they simply cannot accept the food with allergens whatsoever to avoid cross-contamination.
Whilst this can be quite daunting and appear counter-productive, it is understandable.
Governmental food legislation has been put in place to protect users from becoming sick from food. So then, what can we do to work with these restrictions?
Regardless of the difficulty, as you probably already know, we have been slowly dipping our toes into sustainability with our product Better Air.
We are doing our best to learn and slowly become more sustainable. That means that when we found out about food banks and their possibilities (and challenges!) we could not pass on the opportunity to use them in our events!
We took on the challenge of doing something practical about it and contacted the local food bank.
Recently, we created a conference for Xero. They were a little unsure of the final number of delegates attending which meant that there could be a good deal of food wasted on the day.
As expected, they advised us that they could only take food that was individually packaged with a sell-by date. Therefore, we worked with the venue to completely change the menu.
We also redesigned how we presented the conference food to delegates. We had to wade through a load of legislation but we got it done!
That means that there is definitely hope for events professional who want to work with local food banks. It is all about building relationships and having a mutual understanding of each other’s needs!
Also, some food banks are changing their internal processes to make it easier. We are also compiling a checklist to help organisers ensure that their conference food will be taken by food banks.
As well, slowly but surely, new food banks with innovative ideas to make it easy for the user to get rid of excess food.
See our Xero Conference case study here!
What is OLIO and how does it work?
OLIO is a food waste management app that is operational in the UK. You simply fill out a form and a volunteer will come with food boxes to pick your food up and distribute it to the local community.
We are not sure how they get around the lack of individual packaging and sell-by dates. We haven’t tried it out yet but we are looking forward to testing how this works for the events sector.
If you have tried OLIO, or have other ways to redistribute event food please do get in touch so we can spread the word and ensure that we all can cut down on the food we waste in our industry!
Read More About OLIO here.