Our mission is to help reducing food waste, promote natural food & local producers and make high-quality products more accessible.
Did you know? 1/3 of all food produced globally is wasted or spoiled. According to WRAP, the UK wastes 1.9mt of food and drinks a year, 1.1mt of this is avoidable, worth £1.9bn. 70% of food waste is estimated
It is estimated that 70% of food waste comes from households. However the supply chain is also responsible when encouraging overconsumption with big saving deals (buy 3 for 2) for instance.
One of the United Nation's sustainable development goals (12.3) is to halve food waste for each person by 2030.
Un-recycled items are driven to landfill sites, where they are tipped onto huge mountains of rubbish and left to rot.
Did you know? If not composted, orange peel takes up to 6 months to disintegrate!
And a head of lettuce? they can last for as long as 25 years!
What is food surplus?
Food surplus is the excess of food that may end up wasted. There are several reasons* for the surplus such as:
Food imperfection: Some products may have natural imperfections. For example, fruits and vegetables may vary widely in shape, size and colour.
Off-cuts: Specific parts of the animals are sometimes considered as less noble (with more bones, smaller muscles or more connective tissue for instance). We believe in the nose to tail eating and make pate from offal for instance as well as cured meat trimmings for our quiches, savoury tarts and scones. The surplus crab's brown meat is also delicious in pate!
Overproduction: It can be difficult for a producer to accurately estimate the quantity of food to make. This is especially the case for large orders or celebration time such as Christmas.
Cancelled orders: When a client does not collect an order, it may end up as food surplus if the producer does not find another client quickly enough.
Bespoke orders: Some producers and bakers make bespoke products. There are often leftovers which cannot be sold to their regular clients.
Past best before date: Best before dates are about quality, not safety. The food typically begins to gradually lose its flavour and texture after that date, nothing more and can still be eaten as it is or transformed into a tasty meal! For instance, we use one of the finest dark chocolate that is just past before date and use it to make cakes and nutty spread.
Handmade process: The example of cheese - During its maturation process, the cheese has to be tasted for quality control. The cheesemonger will use a "cheese trier" knife that pulls out a cross-section from a cheese wheel. The wheel ends up with holes, cracks and cannot be sold. Another example is the handmade crispbreads. Prepared and cut by hand, some of them can end up broken. Then would thus not be packaged and eaten.
Leftovers at the end of the food market day: There are some fresh food products that could be stored and sold the next day such as sourdough bread. However, due to the cost of storage and workforce - there is no economic reason for a baker to keep the bread which ends up not being used.
Damaged packaging: Some packaging may be slightly damaged or broken due to transportation for instance. While the product's quality such rusks or smoke fishes would not be affected, they would not be sold because of the packaging.
*Non-exhaustive list based on our observations running Elysia.
What we are doing
Did you know? Each time you eat with us a breakfast, lunch or a canapes menu, you save in average 350 grams* of food surplus!
*Average quantity based on July 2017 observations
Canapes menu created with 75-80% of surplus natural ingredients from local producers with Brown Meat Crab Pate, Territorial Cheeses, Off-cuts Cured Meats, Fruits, Vegetables, Wild Herbs.
How we do it
Sustainability in Food business - Our best practics
While 70% of food waste happens at home, as food businesses we have a large responsibility in this outcome. From discounting lots of perishable items (e.g. 3 bags of salad for the price of 2) or refiling continuously buffets at catered events, the industry does not always encourage the consumers value the food and the resources used to grow and transform the produce.
We created a short booklet at Elysia sharing our best practices focusing on sustainability from designing our menu to our recycling partner and the service we offer to our clients.
"By impacting on food waste positively you impact positively on some key issues of our time – climate change, water security, food security, soil degradation, deforestation,
the power of the biotechs and the prevailing narrative that there isn’t enough food to cater for an ever-growing population, and many more."
Chris King, documentary photographer
Food waste has a serious impact on the environment because most of it ends in landfill where it decays and produces the potent greenhouse gas methane. There is also the embedded energy costs of producing, packaging and transporting the food which WRAP claims produces the equivalent of at least 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
You can find more information about food waste and its economic, social and environmental impact through the links below.
www.lovefoodhatewaste.com: Advice, ideas on preparation, storage, portioning and recipes
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), United Nations, 2015
Food surplus and waste report, WRAP 2016
Food Futures, from business as usual to business unusual, WRAP