Reducing and Managing Food Waste in Hotels

Our latest Know How Guide has been developed in collaboration with Considerate Hoteliers to help hoteliers and chefs understand how to manage and reduce food waste in hotels – what is the issue, how should it be addressed and what resources are on offer

This guide has been produced by the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) in collaboration with Considerate Hoteliers. The article draws on resources from organisations like WRAP that are available for the hospitality industry, with additional statistics and information on waste management separately referenced. It is designed for use by Corporate Responsibility and Environment Managers and Chefs. You can read the guide here on the site, or download it here.

What’s the problem with food waste?

Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted each year[1]
Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa[2]
842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat[3]
When food rots it creates methane (CH4) which has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide[4]
If food waste was a country, it would be the world’s 3rd largest emitter of CO2[5]
Every time food is wasted, the water, energy, time, manpower, land, fertilizer, fuel, packaging and MONEY put into growing, preparing, storing, transporting, cooking the food is wasted. This great video captures it perfectly
In short; reducing food waste helps you stop wasting money and a host of other resources. Here is an estimation of the carbon emissions created by common foods.

In the UK, food waste represents a cost to the hotel sector of £318 million each year including food procurement, labour, utilities and waste management costs, or £4,000 per tonne.

Estimated annual statistics show that UK hotels:

Produce 289,700 tonnes of waste each year, including 79,000 tonnes of food waste
Produce 9% of the total food waste across the hospitality and food service sector in the UK
Only 43% of all waste is recycled[6].
Statistics are similar in other countries. In Ireland, of the 750,000 tonnes of organic waste generated each year by businesses, over 350,000 comes from commercial businesses (e.g. food retail, hotels, food wholesale, restaurants, etc.) It has been estimated that each tonne of food waste in Ireland can cost between €2,000 – €5,000 – sometimes less, often times more.[7]

In the US, 68m tonnes of food waste are produced each year, with around 39.7m tonnes going to landfill or incineration. One third of this is from full and quick service (QSR) restaurants[8].

Why take action?

By taking a few simple steps to waste less and recycle more, and by working out the cost of food waste to the business, hotels can reap financial as well as environmental benefits. Read on and find out more.

Where is waste generated?

Hotels often say they waste very little food as the plates generally come back clean. However, food waste comes from a variety of sources;Food waste in hotels

Even in the best-run kitchens there will be some food waste. The priority is to reduce how much food is wasted in your property, before considering how best to dispose of unavoidable waste.

How to reduce food waste?

WRAP outlines 4 steps:

Step 1: Measure your food waste
Step 2: Develop an action plan to reduce food waste using the data collected, with targets, timescales and responsibilities
Step 3: Review progress on the plan each month
Step 4: Share your good work with staff, consumers and industry

The resources referenced below and a step-by-step online guide can all be found at WRAP’s Hospitality and Foodservice Online Resource centre. Based on material from Unilever, the resources are relevant to any hotel anywhere in the world.

Step 1: Measure your food waste

For a trial period, e.g. a week, start collecting food waste in three separate bins (one each for preparation, spoilage and plate waste), where appropriate, to understand where and why this waste arises. Weigh them daily to find out where the most food waste is being generated. This should include food that would otherwise have ended up in the sink disposal unit. Remember that this is going to present a challenge to staff to do things differently so preparation is key – make sure staff understand why you are doing this and get on board.

You can record this on a Food Waste Tracking Sheet (see below), available via WRAP or US EPA. For more detail, Unilever’s Wise Up On Waste is an app for professional kitchens to conveniently monitor and track food waste, including monitoring the composition of plate waste. We’d recommend you go this extra step as if you are wasting a lot of meat, this is costing you a lot of money!

Case study: The SRA and The Bingham. In the UK, the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) is running a scheme called Food Save to help hoteliers and restaurants understand and reduce their food waste.Waste frompreparation, spoilage and plate waste are separated and weighed for a month to identify sources of food waste. The Bingham Hotel piloted the scheme in spring 2014. GM Erick Kervaon reports that the first challenge was to get staff on board. Changing habits and getting people to do things differently can be a challenge; after all, many chefs just want to cook! Key to the success of the project at The Bingham was to present to staff at the start of the project to get them on board – not only with an environmental message but using the opportunity to engage staff in the business through their financial responsibility for reducing wastage. Empowering staff in this way and allowing them to share in the success by allocating part of the savings to a staff football tournament really helped engage staff. Now segregation of waste is business as usual and the restaurant at The Bingham is turning a higher profit.
Calculate the amount of food waste produced each year from the data collected. Multiply this figure by the cost per tonne (£4,000 in the UK) to find out how much this could be costing your business each year. Use actual data from food wasted and disposal costs if you are able to collect this.

Repeat this at least twice a year to measure your progress. This will enable the cost of food waste to be identified and for progress to be tracked over time.

Case study: Strattons is a small, independent, family-run hotel in Norfolk. In just one year (2010-11), the hotel managed to save over £16,000 by reducing food and packaging waste, increasing recycling to 98% and making savings in other areas such as good housekeeping and water use. One food waste initiative was to naturally dry coffee grounds and use for horticultural purposes, reducing food waste by around 332kg per year. Read more here
Step 2: Develop an action plan to reduce food waste using the data collected, with targets, timescales and responsibilities.

Your action plan should include;

Preventing spoilagewrap stock sheet

Review stock management and food delivery processes for food items with a short shelf life. Ensure stock is rotated as new deliveries come in (first in, first out). WRAP provides stock control sheets online
Store stock correctly at the right temperature, in the right packaging, labelled and with dates
Ordering and menu planning

Using some pre-prepared, frozen or dried ingredients can reduce wastage. And remember, you can freeze most foodstuffs – even eggs!
Be familiar with reservations forecasts and do not over-order or over-prepare. Is 20% extra a good buffer on a busy day? Can another 20% be kept frozen for contingencies? Track the menu for slower-moving dishes. Customers don’t need too many choices and keeping the menu simple reduces the possibility of waste.
Be imaginative with your menus! Consider what perishable ingredients or trimmings can be used in different ways, e.g. fish trimmings or bones for stock, bread for breadcrumbs or croutons, ingredients for pate & soups, etc., and plan menus accordingly to use these ingredients, e.g. by offering daily specials. And why not offer potatoes with skin on? Unilever’s Wise Up On Waste app has some handy tips for ‘repurposing’ ingredients. Excess preparation and ingredients close to their use-by date could be made available for staff meals.
Case study –The Lancaster, London: “Nose-to-tail” dining, the principle of using the whole animal to avoid waste, has recently been introduced at The Lancaster, London. Not only is this a great initiative to reduce food waste; it is an inventive commercial offering.
too good to waste Offer customers choice. That could be different portion sizes – a consumer survey showed that 41% of those surveyed blamed oversized portions for leaving food. Good portion control using standard measures will also help you keep the cost consistent. For smaller portions you could offer a refill/second helping – or options for side dishes or build their own dish so that they can order what they prefer and will not leave food on the plate. The main dish and sides are most likely to be left behind, with chips (fries) the most commonly left food (32%). Offer ‘doggy bags’/boxes for consumers to take home what they have not eaten, where appropriate – be careful to check local health and safety regulations. “83% of the public would ask for a doggy box but don’t think they can or are too embarrassed” (Sustainable Restaurant Association).
Case study: Greene King pubs in the UK have a range of different portion sizes. The Golden Years Menu caters for more mature guests, specifically tailored to satisfy lighter appetites, and two different children’s menus are offered; the Children’s Menu – suitable for children between 7 and 10 years, and the Juniors’ Menu – suitable for children under 7 years.
If running a buffet, some hotels have successfully used a ‘pay by weight’ system which enables customers to eat as much as they want but discourages them from taking too much. See this case study from Dubai. Others use signs to request that customers just take what they need, such as those from ‘Love Food Hate Waste’.
Engage your staff. The infographic in this article on Green Hotelier summarises the key steps to take
See the Love Food Hate Waste Resource Pack to see the consumer research referred to above and for great advice on engaging the customer.

Step 3: Review progress on the plan each month

Speak to staff and get their feedback on the progress being made. This will keep people involved and motivated. Measure the amount of waste produced regularly and work out how much money is being saved.

Step 4: Share your good work with staff, consumers and industry

Don’t forget to thank staff and keep them motivated. Rewards are excellent to recognise the efforts they have made.

Keep up-to-date on all the good practice being carried out by other businesses by looking online, e.g. the WRAP site or initiatives local to you (see the Further Reading list at the end of this Guide). Apply anything you learn to the plan and update it regularly.

Share your case studies with us at Considerate Hoteliers and on Green Hotelier – here’s how to contribute. On Twitter, use the hashtag #foodwaste to make sure others see your story, and to search for and link to relevant organisations.

You might also choose to get external recognition for your achievements through awards and certifications, such as the UK the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (CIWM) Awards, Carbon Trust Waste Standard, as achieved by Whitbread, or by signing the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement – a voluntary agreement to support the sector in reducing waste and recycling more.

See the Love Food Hate Waste Resource Pack to see consumer research and some great advice on engaging the customer

Staff training and communication

Getting staff on board with your waste reduction and management strategy is key. Work out right from the start who to involve, and ensuring that together you make it work. It takes time to create new processes and habits so make sure staff know why you are doing what you are doing. See the case study on The Bingham above. Get their buy in. Make it easy. Train and retrain staff. It can be hard to get all staff together for training, so consider what alternatives you can provide. Whitbread’s ‘Say No to Landfill’ training modules are online so staff can do it at a time that suits them.

Case Study: At The Hyatt Regency London, The Churchill, four staff teams were asked to create short videos on waste handling. All four were played in the staff restaurant, to the amusement of associates who saw their senior managers ridiculing themselves. The success of this strategy was combining a clear message with a lot of fun which staff would talk about and remember.
Case Study: London Kings Cross Premier Inn was awarded the ‘Most Improved Recycler 2014’ award from Veolia. During the first 7 months of 2013, London Kings Cross contaminated their recycling waste streams on 27 separate occasions resulting in significant risk and cost to the business. Then incredibly from October 2013 all contamination suddenly stopped…… see below their success story and how they achieved their award!
The Issue… The team at London Kings Cross were experiencing many issues with their waste since the general to mixed recycling conversion programme was introduced. Contamination of waste streams were resulting in non-collections, which meant a significant waste build up that affected other key services for the hotel. A joint WHR and Veolia support site survey audit was carried out to see what steps could be put in place to solve the continued waste issues at site.
Two problems were quickly identified…
Housekeeping teams misunderstood what waste from their activities should be put into which bins.
There was also a need to increase this service provision at site by two extra lifts.
The steps taken to turn a negative into a positive…
Following on from extensive conversations, Veolia were able to increase the mixed recycling provision, preventing the waste build up from occurring over the weekend.
In order to move forward and correct the contamination issues, the site embarked on an extensive waste & recycling awareness education programme, including arranging for all team members to take the Academy on-line ‘Say No to Landfill’ module training.
In addition, it was identified that not only were the House keeping team contractors, but for the majority of them, English was not their first language. This was addressed by the waste team visiting the site to arrange to brief the house keeping team in their language. This was translated by their shift leader so that everyone on site knew what was expected and how the process worked.
The Outcome… Year to date, all contamination at site has stopped and this has resulted in a month by month improvement for the hotel. This is a direct result of the hotel manager’s drive and the team’s persistence and engagement with the Good Together waste programme.
Solutions for treatment and disposal of waste

The best, most cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution is to stop food becoming waste or surplus in the first place – being eaten is always the best option for food! However, food you cannot use does not always need to become waste. Distinguish between ‘surplus food’ and ‘waste’. Even the best-run kitchens generate some food waste, so what you can’t reduce, prioritise for treatment as per the above diagram.

Legislation and availability of local services will affect your choice of options so check locally and apply the best option according to the food recovery hierarchy above.

Optimisation – feed hungry people – food banks and collection

The best way to use excess food is to feed hungry people. Many charities around the world will collect excess food, including prepared food, to provide for the needy, though note there may be various legal and health and safety requirements to check with your legal team and with the charity in question. Many hotels and companies small and large, including Hilton Worldwide, have risen to the challenge

The process will depend on the market and capabilities of the food bank. Identify food banks or agencies that can accept prepared food and then identify hotels in the area they operate that might want to participate. The food bank or agency can then work with the hotel to determine the types of food they can take and the process for storing. In many cases it is easier to freeze and schedule regular (e.g. weekly) pick-ups. Some organisations may be able to pick up the same day and maintain the heated or cooled product directly to the end recipient but arranging logistics for small regular donations can be difficult. Note that the existing food banking infrastructure/economics is set up to maximize large volumes of non-perishable items from donors like grocers or manufacturers, so accommodating relatively smaller donations and perishable food can be challenging, but it is worth exploring and is a very rewarding activity.

To find food banks in your area, see The Global Food Banking Network and the following or search online.

This option is not available in many countries due to health and safety legislation. For example in Europe, the laws changed following the outbreak of mad cow disease which has been attributed to feeding animals waste food.

In some parts of the world, however, converting food waste to safe animal feed may soon be an option. Sealed Air, a global leader in cleaning, hygiene and packaging solutions, including food safety programs, has been leading several CSR programmes such as Soap For Hope and Linens For Life in the industry. They are now are piloting a scheme to collect food waste from hotels and convert it to dried food pellets for distribution to poor farmers as animal feed. The pilot takes place in Mauritius in November 2014 and it is hoped to roll this out to the Middle East, Africa and Asia markets.


Check online what services are available to help you recycle your food, such as through the Food Waste Network in the UK

Recycling – composting

Composting is nature’s way of recycling. In this process, organic waste, such as food waste and garden clippings, is biodegraded and turned into valuable fertilizer. In its simplest form, the advantages to composting are twofold; it reduces the amount of solid waste in your trash and, when used in a garden, it fertilizes the soil. If your property has gardens, on-site composting may be an option, alternatively, seek a composting contractor in your area.

To find composting services in the US & Canada, see
For health and safety issues in the UK
Further background information is available at WRAP, Green Hotelier, AH&LA and US EPA
Composting case studies: Soneva Fushi, Four Seasons Philadelphia, Healesville Hotel Melbourne and Copacabana Palace Rio all compost
Energy recovery from food waste

Anerobic digestion

Anaerobic digestion (AD) involves the breakdown of biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen by micro-organisms called methanogens. The process of AD provides a source of renewable energy, since the food waste is broken down to produce biogas (a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide), which is suitable for energy production. The biogas can be used to generate electricity and heat to power on-site equipment and, where the infrastructure exists, the excess electricity can be exported to the National Grid.

Check if collection for AD is possible in your area. For more information and to find UK AD sites, click here or see the UK Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA)

Biofuel from waste cooking oil

In many places it is a legal requirement that oils and fats from frying processes are collected. Oils can be put to great use by being recycled into biofuels for vehicles. The volumes produced by a hotel can be significant, for example The Savoy London’s kitchen oil recycling scheme to biofuel averages around 1,800 litres per quarter. Many commercial services exist, many which pay for fats, so check what’s available in your locality.

Case study: At Le Manoir au Quat’ Saisons, recycles waste fats (oils and butters from cooking) using a local company called Arrow Oil, who supply Fat Bins (Le Manoir and Arrow Oil split the cost of purchasing the bins 50-50). These are stored in a separate outdoor refrigerated unit to stop unwanted smells, leakages and pests and are collected on a weekly basis. The fat is recycled into biofuel; Arrow Oil then gives us 25p per litre [in 2012] back. The biofuel currently fuels Arrow Oils transportation. Le Manoir comment; “This project was a great success…and results already show a great saving from recycling the fats. It also has eased our manual handling techniques and is a cleaner more efficient system of storage. In 2011 17,290 litres of cooking oil was reclaimed from Le Manoir, this gave our Eco Brigade & staff welfare fund £2247.70 + VAT. Some of this money has then been invested back into kick starting our conversion of our light bulbs into LED bulbs.”
Other technologies

Organic waste disposal systems are available which convert food waste to water, such as this one used by the Hilton Fort Lauderdale. Dehydrators may be used to extract water from food waste to reduce the weight for landfill and fuel to transport.

Optimising your food recycling programme

Get the bins right. Incorrect types and numbers of bins can lead to the wrong waste going in the wrong bin, such as recycling going in with general waste. Adjusting the size of bins or frequency that they are collected can also save money.

Choose the most appropriate waste management solution for your needs. When entering into a contract for food waste recycling, or other waste collections, make sure that the service meets your requirements and won’t incur additional costs. Make sure you ask the right questions.

Ask the waste management contractor for your data. Having data on how much waste is going to landfill, being recycled or going to AD will help to understand current levels of recycling. This information can then be used to identify further opportunities. Monitor how this changes on a regular basis.

Do the maths. Recycling waste doesn’t attract landfill tax and may cost less. If you are already recycling packaging, it’s worth speaking to the waste contractor about other services including food waste collections.

Get staff on your side. Engage staff to recycle more by helping them to understand which waste goes in which bin. It is key for staff to ‘buy in’ to initiatives so that they see the benefits. This will encourage participation and help increase recycling rates.

Work together. Consider working with neighbouring businesses to procure food waste and recycling collections, where appropriate. There may be efficiencies/economies of scale to be made by working together. Where larger scale is needed, see what you can do on a national or industry scale.

The Hospitality Carbon Reduction Forum in the UK is urging hospitality companies to collaborate to optimise cost and the volume of food waste that can be sent to AD processing.

More detail is available and a step by step approach via WRAP’s Food Waste Recycling for your Business, including;

a cost of recycling calculator
questions to ask waste disposal contractors
case studies, detailing issues such as managing food waste in small to Michelin starred kitchens
Resources, such as signage and posters, briefing notes to staff,
…and a lot more!


Lucozade Ribena Suntory assists on blackcurrant research project

currant-896233_1280Lucozade Ribena Suntory has contributed to a £220,000 international research project, which is aiming to turn blackcurrant pomace into food for human consumption.

Blackcurrant pomace is a rich source of polyphenols and fibre. Food scientists at the University of Huddersfield in the UK are seeking methods of introducing it into bread, muffins, biscuits and breakfast foods as a means of enriching the fibre content of foods by up to 15%.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory has provided samples of pomace – the by-product left behind after the blackcurrants have been pressed for juice – to support the researchers in their contribution to the Europe-wide Berrypom research project.

The goal is to exploit the nutritional and economic value of pomace, which consists of the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of berries after juicing. It can account for up to 30% of the product, but has so far had limited use and is often discarded. But it is a potentially rich source of polyphenols and fibre and therefore researchers in five European countries – plus New Zealand – have come together for Berrypom, which seeks to find methods of introducing it into cereal products, including bread, muffins, biscuits and breakfast foods.

“We are aiming for an increase in fibre content of up to 15%,” explained Dr Vassilis Kontogiorgos from the University of Huddersfield. “Except for the colour you can’t tell the difference.”

Early findings are that flavour is hardly affected by the introduction of pomace, but bread and muffins can acquire a dark colouration. Therefore, ways to lighten the colour of the blackcurrant by-product are now being explored.


SodaStream develops carbonator to turn sparkling water into beer

SodaStream launches its new homemade beer system, the Beer Bar (PRNewsFoto/SodaStream International Ltd.)

SodaStream launches its new homemade beer system, the Beer Bar (PRNewsFoto/SodaStream International Ltd.)

SodaStream has released an “exciting” new beer concept that makes it possible to produce home-crafted beer using sparkling water and a unique beer concentrate.

To kick off The Beer Bar is a light beer called Blondie, which has a smooth authentic taste and a hop-filled aroma. The new home brewing concept enables consumers to concoct crafted beer in seconds by adding Blondie concentrate to sparkling water, making a beer that has an ABV of 4.5% and yielding approximately 3 litres of beer for every 1 litre Blondie concentrate bottle.

SodaStream has chosen to first launch the Beer Bar in some of Europe’s beer capitals. The product will be made available in the German and Swiss markets, with additional countries expected to be added in late 2016 and 2017.

“We are excited to launch a brand dedicated to serving the global growing trend of home crafted beer,” says Daniel Birnbaum, chief executive officer of SodaStream. “Our core carbonation technology and distribution infrastructure provide a great platform for us to extend our business into this emerging category, and we choose to do so with a dedicated beer brand.”


DuPont’s new bread thins use alternative carbohydrate concept

DuPont_NH_PR-New-Bakery-Opportunities-with-Alternative-CarbsDuPont Nutrition & Health has launched a new bakery concept inspired by Nordic thin breads, as it seeks to revitalise Europe’s struggling bread market and reengage consumers who have turned their backs on traditional wheat-based offerings.

The Nordic Light Thins innovation is part of a series of DuPont alternative carbohydrate concepts, designed to help bakers tempt consumers back to supermarket bread shelves.
Soft and dimpled with a thickness between that of toast and tortillas, the thin bread concept contains 50% oats, buckwheat and barley in the flour – Nordic grains that are recognised for their high content of fibre and other important nutrients, the ingredients company said.

DuPont’s powerful blend of enzymes and vegetable-based emulsifiers, PowerBake Thins, keeps the thin breads feeling soft and fresh for up to 14 days in ambient storage, it added.

Forecasts for bread sales from Mintel suggest low levels of growth until 2020 – particularly in Western Europe – with 70% of consumers “making a conscious effort to follow a healthy diet”. Bread’s high-in-calorie, sugar and carbohydrate reputation has seen it lose out as a consequence.

“Thin bread has long been a firm favorite in Sweden and Finland, where consumers treat it as a sandwich bread,” explained Jan Charles Hansen, principal bakery application specialist for DuPont.

“Nordic Light Thins is made with half the refined wheat flour of standard wheat bread. Among the fibre and nutrients, the concept contains beta-glucan, which helps to reduce high levels of blood cholesterol.”

Other concepts in the DuPont alternative carbs series draw on the bioavailable nutrients in sprouted wheat, ancient grains and seeds – and the novel hybrid grain tritordeum, which is derived from wheat and barley. The concepts include a barley breakfast biscuit, sprouted whole grain bread and nutritious tortillas.

For bakers with extrusion facilities, DuPont has also developed a protein-enriched, high-fibre concept for extruded bread sticks.


Beneo develops new ‘natural and clean label’ functional rice starch

BENEO_Remypure_2016-copyright-is-BENEO©Elena-Veselova_-123rfFunctional ingredients manufacturer Beneo has launched its first high-performance rice starch that qualifies for both natural and clean label status worldwide.

Remypure functional native rice starch has high stability during processing and performs well, Beneo said, particularly under harsh processing conditions such as low pH, high temperature or high shear. As a result, it is well suited to applications that undergo demanding processing conditions including retorted sauces, baby food jars, dairy desserts and fruit preparations.

Due to Remypure’s new thermal production process, which is entirely natural, the functional rice starch achieves performance levels comparable to chemically modified food starches without using any chemicals, making it easier for manufacturers to adopt clean label positioning in their products.

Remypure has a clean taste and improves both shelf-life stability and the texture of products, German-headquartered Beneo added. Available in a range of variants, it gives food manufacturers a versatile clean label rice starch, allowing viscosity build-up suitable for both gentle and demanding processing conditions.

According to the brand’s commercial managing director, it will help manufacturers to capitalise on interest in clean label and natural products.

Marc-Etienne Denis said: “With 71% of European consumers considering natural products as better, clean label and natural claims are becoming ever more important in the creation of food products. We are proud to announce the launch of Remypure, as this high-performance rice starch will now enable Beneo customers worldwide to make the most of growing consumer demand for natural and clean label solutions, particularly in applications requiring severe processing conditions. ”


Protein developments

finalIn its snapshot of this year’s Sustainable Foods Summit, organiser Organic Monitor reported that, during last year’s World Climate Summit (COP21) it was concluded that food generates a quarter of all greenhouse gases, with over half coming from livestock production. At the same time, population growth and dietary changes have led to a substantial rise in meat and dairy consumption over the past two decades.

The FAO expects meat consumption to double by 2050 when the global population is projected to reach nine billion. Therefore, a shift towards sustainable proteins is deemed necessary if the food industry is to lower its environmental impacts. Plant-based proteins are considered part of the solution, with investment pouring into new enterprises that have developed innovative meat and dairy analogues.

So critical is the issue that leading international businesses and NGOs have formed The Protein Challenge 2040, the world’s first collaboration across the protein system that aims to address the question: How can we feed nine billion people enough protein in a way that is healthy, affordable and good for the environment?

Facilitated by the non-profit Forum for the Future, The Protein Challenge 2040 coalition is founded by leading NGOs including WWF and GAIN, retailers Target and Waitrose, dairy nutrition firm Volac, taste and flavour expert Firmenich, as well as food manufacturers The Hershey Company and Quorn. It is the first partnership that brings together representatives from animal, plant and alternative protein industries to understand the protein system’s challenges, identify a common way forward and come up with new solutions together.

Through in-depth research and work with food, nutrition, health and technology experts across the world, the coalition has mapped the interrelationships within the entire protein system for the first time. It has pinpointed six areas for innovation, which the group will take immediate action on to meet future demand sustainably.

The coalition is now looking for additional partners with resources, expertise and drive to take action in these areas together.

In its recent report ‘The rise of plant protein: Opportunities to capitalise on the protein trend using plant alternatives to meat and dairy’, Canadean confirms that plant protein sources such as soy, pea and nuts are growing in popularity to meet our voracious ongoing demand for protein.

‘Asian countries show the highest positive consumer uptake (of vegetable-based proteins) as their diets already consist of many plant proteins such as tofu and soy,’ confirms the report, which stresses that meat avoidance is also growing for various health, financial, sustainability, and ethical reasons. At the same time, there is insatiable demand for protein, creating opportunities for companies to incorporate plant-based sources into food and beverages in place of animal-derived ingredients.

EHL Ingredients sales director Tasneem Backhouse confirms that ‘it’s all about protein this year!’

“High protein diets were the runaway success of 2015, with devotees embracing the benefits of eating larger amounts of protein and fewer carbohydrates – a trend which is set to continue into 2016 and beyond. We have seen increases in sales for our protein-packed ingredients such as seeds, nuts and grains,” said Tasneem.

Industry figures from Kantar show that sales of nuts have risen by 6.6%, which echoes EHL’s own sales figures. The most popular nuts sold by EHL are now almonds and walnuts.

Ancient grains such as Freekeh are also growing in popularity, according to Tasneem, who said: “Grains such as quinoa have paved the way for other, lesser known products, and Freekeh has proven popular with EHL’s customers. A staple of Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries, Freekeh has a smoky, nutty flavour, but absorbs flavours well. It’s a great addition to chicken or vegetable dishes. It’s low in fat, and – again – high in protein.”

The Almond Board of California (ABC) highlights that recent studies have found that snacking on almonds, which are a natural source of protein, can also boost satiety and result in reduced calorie intake for the rest of the day. Plus, new research from Innova Market Insights shows that almonds are the number one nut in new food products worldwide, with launches featuring almonds having grown 148% since 2005.

According to AB, some of the primary reasons for these positive statistics are the versatility and added value of almonds as snacks and inclusions. When compared gram for gram, almonds are the tree nut highest in protein, fibre, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin and are among the lowest in calories, it says. The protein level is significantly above that of most other tree nuts at 6g per
30g serving.

Ingredient launches

To meet the increased demand for plant-based protein ingredients, ingredient supplier Cambridge Commodities has launched a range of high quality vegan proteins. The ProEarth range consists of black bean, almond, cranberry, buckwheat, hemp, pumpkin seed and quinoa powders with protein content ranging from 20% to 80%.

Extracted from superfoods, ProEarth vegan proteins are clean label, often allergen-free and easily digestible due to their fibre content. Plant protein sources can provide a full profile of amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, connecting with key drivers of health-conscious consumers.

Cambridge Commodities research and development nutritionist Emma Cattell commented: “The ProEarth range is the next generation of vegan proteins, beyond the traditional soy, pea and rice. Vegan proteins have a host of other benefits in addition to protein including being rich in vitamins and minerals, more natural, less processed, environmentally friendly and ethical.”

Highlighting pea proteins as a particularly dynamic source of innovation currently,

PGP International uses advanced extrusion technology to produce a High-Protein crisp from pea proteins that is totally free of hexane and allergens and perfect for a wide range of applications such as energy bars, nutrition-rich food, cereals, snacks and confections.

Recent studies reveal that pea protein may yield health benefits that promote a sense of fullness and stimulate the body’s peptide production, abating the feelings of hunger. High Protein Crisps suit manufacturers looking for high quality ingredients for their consumer products that are rich in protein, tasty and allergen-free.

Nizo has been looking at several pea protein developments.

Common issues with commercial plant proteins are their low solubility and off-taste, according to Nizo experts, who studied these issues and created new opportunities with green pea proteins. The protein extracts were dried and spray dried under different conditions (heat loads), using freeze drying as reference. These optimised extraction and drying processes not only affected the degree of denaturation and solubility of the pea protein powder, but also had a beneficial impact on the flavour/taste profile.

Further protein activity includes research into how the technical functionality of blends of proteins in terms of texture and foaming or emulsifying properties may be higher than for individual proteins. In particular, Nizo showed that mixtures of soy and gelatine form a bicontinuous system in which the two proteins form two independent protein networks.

Nizo has also developed usable, functional and tasty fibrous plant proteins that can be used in vegetarian products, fish substitutes and savoury bakery products. Using a special treatment, the functionality and efficacy of the fibrous proteins are maintained and are now being scaled up for mass production. The resulting taste and texture (mouthfeel) of the fibrous proteins is unique with excellent juiciness and bite, according to Nizo, which has worked with Ruitenberg to develop the industrial production process for the fibrous plant proteins.

Drawing on pulses, researchers from Wageningen University have developed a meat substitute that they say has the bite of real meat.

To produce this ‘plant-based beef’, the researchers from Food Process Engineering used Shear Cell Technology, with which it is possible to mould plant material until it has the fibre structure of a beefsteak. The new technology was first used to make fibres from dairy proteins. Processing plant-based proteins in pulses such as soya beans is a lot more complex but the researchers managed to identify the mechanisms by which plant proteins form structures.

The new technique is not limited in format so it can be used to make more products besides familiar little stir-fry pieces. Working with colleagues from the Technical University of Delft, the Wageningen researchers have built a prototype machine that could produce plant-based meat cuts of several kilos. Eventually local butchers should be able to produce the meat substitute themselves, and will just need to use natural flavourings to give the product flavour. Key partners in the study are The Vegetarian Butcher and the Peas Foundation.

GoodMills Innovation has introduced two new products for the meat alternative sector. Wheat texturates in the form of flakes will allow for the creation of vegetarian and vegan dishes, minced meat substitutes as well as bakery and snack fillings; while, YePea (toasted pea meal) offers a non-GMO and allergen-free alternative to
soy grits.

The extruded wheatmeat flakes are characterised by their high water binding capacity and are especially suitable for adding texture and structure to bakery and snack fillings as well as for the production of meat-free hamburger patties. Based on high-protein wheat fractions, the flakes can achieve end products with up to 76% protein.

YePea (an abbreviation of yellow pea) is derived from the yellow-podded snow pea. This almost forgotten legume is an alternative to soy grits, which are often used in baking mixes, bread recipes and small baked goods to improve texture. The toasted and coarsely ground peas enhance water binding capacity and provide a soft texture. 

Product launches

In the US, Impossible Foods was founded five years ago and has dedicated itself to developing a new generation of delicious and sustainable meats made from plants.

By looking at animal products at the molecular level, then selecting specific proteins and nutrients from greens, seeds, and grains to recreate the complex experience of meat and dairy products, Impossible Foods hopes to replicate the work that animals have done for years of transforming plants into proteins: meat, milk, cheese and eggs.

The first Impossible Burger is scheduled to appear in the market during 2016. After launch in the US, the company plans to expand its production capacity and make the burgers and future products available further afield!


Nut milk brand Plenish launches cashew nut milk to the UK

Cashew-Nut-Mlk-HRNut milk brand Plenish has expanded its dairy-free M*lk range by launching what it has called “the UK’s first 1 litre organic cashew nut milk”.

Containing only three simple ingredients – cashews, filtered water and Himalayan salt – the organic cashew Nut M*lk has launched following the success of the almond nut variety. It contains 6% cashew content and no additives, preservatives or sweeteners – meaning there are more nuts and no fillers. Perfect to drink straight up or blended in a smoothie or cappuccino, the Nut M*lk will be available from Ocado from mid-April and Waitrose in July.

The cashew Nut M*lk is also a natural source of plant-based protein, which Plenish said helps to maintain healthy muscles and bones. The milk alternative also contains heart-healthy mono saturated fat and helps to protect cells from oxidative stress, contributing to the normal operating of the body’s immune system.

Plenish founder Kara Rosen said: “After the positive response from consumers on the launch of our almond M*lk in January, we responded and developed a new innovative Nut M*lk with the launch our new organic cashew M*lk, the very first 1 litre available in the UK. First, we challenged the juice category with our cold-pressed range and launched the first cold-pressed juice into national retailers and now we’re excited to raise the quality bar in the non-dairy market by using only three simple ingredients: nuts, water and a dash of Himalayan salt. The cashew Nut M*lk contains no fillers like rice, oil, sweeteners, soya or stabilisers. We are big believers that you get out of life what you put in, so eat and drink products with integrity and your body will reward you with optimum health and vigour to chase your dreams”.

The innovation is timely in the content of the dairy-free alternatives market. Now purchased by one in four households, a consumer shift towards dairy-free consumption due to allergies, health reasons and taste preference has helped the market to year-on-year growth of 19.9% and a value of £243.2m.


Chia Charge adds compact sports bars that can be eaten ‘on the run’

thumbnail-chia1British sports nutrition brand Chia Charge has launched two new products in the lead-up to the London Marathon.

Created for marathoners, trail runners, cyclists, obstacle racers and other high-energy competitors, the 30g bars are built on the goodness of chia seeds. Blending the tastiness of flapjacks with the energy credentials of a sports gel, the bars are the perfect balance of flavour and function, Chia Charge has claimed.

Small enough to slip into a pair of running shorts, the new mini Chia Charge flapjacks are designed to help athletes refuel on the go. A blend of oats, butter, golden syrup, brown sugar, chia seeds, sea salt flakes and rice flour, the original mini Chia Charge flapjack is a compact version of its full-sized counterpart. In addition, a mini berry flapjack offers dates and cranberries for sweetness, with butter, oats, chia seeds, salt flakes and rice flour binding the fruits together.

As a source of omega-3 and antioxidants, the compact bars deliver a balanced carb supply that is designed to burn slowly for ongoing energy and endurance, which means that after the initial benefit of the simple sugars wears off, the complex carbohydrates sustain energy. This eliminates the post consumption crashes triggered by gels, and keeps athletes moving forward with real food, Chia Charge said.

Founder and creator Tim Taylor added: “At the end of the day we’re all about fuelling the needs of athletes, so when we get flooded with the same requests we take action. Compact bars that can be consumed on the move were a major request in 2015, and this year we’ve responded by recreating our bestselling flapjacks, in mini bars of easy to use goodness.”


Tipa – from start-up to World Food Innovation Award in 5 years

Tipa Corp. was proud and honoured to have been awarded the best environmental/CSR initiative award for its range of 100% compostable flexible packaging for fresh produce, TipLock zipper bags, stand up pouches, paper applications, and for coffee and snacks.

Finalists and winners for the awards were announced during a special event on Tuesday 1 March at Hotelympia in London’s ExCel exhibition centre. “We are constantly impressed with the scale and pace of innovation in the global food and beverage industry,” said FoodBev Media director Bill Bruce. “This year’s awards scheme once again features truly innovative and exciting products and initiatives which are not only on-trend but likely to set trends for the year ahead.”
a4-1Challenges on the road to sustainability

Building any packaging company from scratch is not for the faint of heart. Building a packaging company dedicated to developing biodegradable and compostable packaging takes the level of gumption required to a whole new level, but that is exactly the kind of company that Daphna Nissenbaum and Tal Neuman had in mind when together they founded Tipa in Israel in June 2010.

Daphna and Tal looked through the lens of a software engineer (Daphna) and an industrial designer (Tal) and thought, “imagine if you could treat flexible food packaging like an orange peel, like organic waste, a natural resource”.

Sustainability and the kind of world that their children would live in one day was hugely important to Daphna and Tal, and this philosophy continues to run like a green thread through Tipa to this day.

The flexible packaging challenge

Crisps, rice and coffee are only a few of the products to be found in flexible packaging, which can be made of paper, plastic film, foil or any combination of these.

Flexible packaging has become ubiquitous on supermarket shelves. It is almost easier to describe what is not packaged in some kind of flexible packaging than to describe what is. From a sustainability perspective, the major strength of flexible packaging – that it is hugely source-reduced – is also its major weakness when it comes to recycling and end of life solutions, with the result that the majority ends up in landfill.

To Tipa, the difficulty of recycling became a mission for sustainable innovation, because with the biodegradable flexible packaging Daphna and Tal had in mind, the idea was that the packaging could be composted at end of its life, preferably along with food waste.

If the Tipa biodegradable flexible packaging was to succeed, it would have to have all the qualities of traditional plastics, eg in terms of transparency, tensile strength and shelf life. It would also have to be fully compostable.

Tipa’s compostable flexible packaging breakthrough

It took countless hours of development time, but today Tipa has developed the first fully compostable flexible packaging with the necessary moisture and oxygen barrier properties to meet the required shelf life standards for a wide range of foods.

This breakthrough innovation allows for the first time a full replacement of currently non–recyclable flexible packaging with organically recyclable/compostable packaging. Not only can Tipa’s packages be diverted from landfills and incineration centres but, as an added value, they can also serve as a feedstock for producing energy (eg bio-gas facilities) or land fertiliser (compost facilities).

Tipa’s unique advantage over existing sustainable products lies in its high mechanical properties and optical advantages, while still preserving compostability.

According to Daphna, “our products have the same mechanical properties as most ordinary plastics, serving consumers and manufactures. Consumers enjoy the same level of packaging functionality. Manufacturers get bio-plastics that meet all their manufacturing requirements and that is adaptable to their current packaging and production practices.”

Daphna continued: “Tipa’s IP and knowhow encompass resin, multi-layer films structures, laminates and more, enabling the creation of optimal solutions for any specific application with any desired properties. Tipa’s patented technology and strong manufacturing know-how solve a variety of issues concerning the applicability of bio-plastics to flexible packaging.”

What began for Tipa five and a half years ago as a dream to treat flexible food packaging like an orange peel has grown into the reality of a company with sales in Europe as well as the United States – and now recognition for excellence and innovation from the World Food Innovation Awards.


UK business crowdfunds for ‘groundbreaking’ cooking process

test-prod-shotA UK-based food technology pioneer Carritech Research has launched a campaign on crowdfunding site Seedrs, as it aims to raise £350,000 in equity funding for expanding the commercial development of its new “groundbreaking” formulation and process platform technology.

ColdBake is a patented process that enables biscuit or snack products to be produced at close to human body temperature, enabling the production of products enriched with vitamins, omega-3, sports nutrients, bioactives and medicines using only natural and commonly used food ingredients. The products appear and taste like they have been baked – but use a pioneering vaccuum process to avoid normal baking temperatures that destroy active ingredients, Carritech explained.

It claimed that the technology opens up opportunities to create entirely new ranges of functional foods, such as appealing nutritional supplements for children, vitamin-enriched biscuit products for seniors, cancer supportive care foods, emergency nutrition products and medicine-enriched pet and livestock foods. Coldbake has previously undergone an extensive independent testing process to confirm nutrient “bioavailability” and currently has patents granted in the UK and Europe, South Africa, New Zealand and Mexico.

As well as developing the technology further, the Belfast-based business wants to use the money to progress its licensing negotiations with major food manufacturers.

Carritech plan to license their platform technology and capabilities to strategic partners and are currently in discussion with producers across a broad range of food sectors including bakery, breakfast cereals and sports nutrition.