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Zero Waste

Redistribution, transformation and awareness: three initiatives to put an end to waste

Zero gaspi
Whether through partnerships or in-restaurant actions, Elior is rolling out more and more initiatives as it steps up its fight against food waste. We focus in on three examples: redistribution of surplus food in the UK through our partnership with Olio, supporting an innovative Italian R&D startup that recycles waste into animal feed, and raising nutritional awareness among students with the Good Food Bag program, also in Italy.

Redistribution — Donating surplus food

What were we going to do with all the surplus food generated by the closure of so many sites during the Covid-19 health crisis? To ensure that this food would go straight to those whose access to supermarkets and food banks was complicated by health restrictions, Elior UK partnered with Olio, the free sharing app. A month later, Elior and its Taylor Shaw and Lexington subsidiaries had already donated 15,500 meals.

Thanks to the incredible commitment of the on-site teams, as Charlotte Wright, CSR Manager at Elior UK, explains: “We actually began testing this partnership on a single site in 2019 as part of our commitment to reducing food waste. But the Covid crisis meant that we had to expand its scope very quickly. Our on-site teams worked tirelessly to ensure that all this food got to those most in need of it.”

Olio’s teams of Food Waste Heroes take care of collection from Elior sites and redistribution of food to local communities. Liam Jones, Business Development Manager at Olio, welcomes this partnership: “We’ve been very impressed by Elior's responsiveness. Redistributing food to our communities is more important today than ever.”

Transformation — Recycling waste as animal feed

Despite being unsuitable for human consumption, some waste and surplus food is still too good for the trash can. There are still some guests that would enjoy it: animals! That’s the concept behind Feed from Food, the Italian start-up formed and run by university lecturers and researchers to recover food chain waste and reuse it in the form of ingredients for pet food or animal feed.

Its first commercial partnership was with Elior Italy, which was attracted by this innovative way of recycling waste into food, thereby fulfilling its own core mission! “The partnership with Elior fits perfectly with our ethos of providing a second life for very large volumes of food,” explains Marta Castrica, co-founder of Feed from Food. “We installed our first machine in the Novatese central kitchen in Milan, where Elior produces around 5,000 meals every day. The Elior commitment to constant process optimization means that waste levels are already very low, but our solution lets them recover the inevitable ‘physiological’ component of food waste.”

Awareness — Encouraging good behavior from an early age

Since the Good Food Bag was launched in 2015, Elior Italy has distributed more than 27,000 cool bags to children so that they can take home what they didn’t eat in the school cafeteria. This initiative means that the war on food waste is not limited to kitchens and restaurants, but extends to include the families of these young guests. Elior Italie strives to make them aware of their responsibility for making sure food that’s still good and edible doesn’t end up in the trash can.

Launched on World Earth and Environment Day, the Good Food Bag campaign was rolled out with the Italian environmental organization Legambiente. It encourages school students to use washable, reusable cool bags to take home bread, fruit, snacks and other food left over from their school lunches, providing them with strong encouragement to change the way we all look at perfectly edible food and ‘leftovers’. 

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