Food waste is a serious issue for the hospitality industry and operators have made it clear they want to take action.

Research commissioned by Sustainability Victoria has revealed alarming statistics on food waste in Victoria’s hospitality sector, which is not only costing businesses thousands in profits, but harming the environment.

An audit conducted in late 2018 found cafes and restaurants produced 7,550kg of waste per year, with 67 per cent classified as food waste. More than half (55 per cent) of the food waste was found to be preventable.

For pubs and bars, the figures are equally concerning, with 13,990 of total waste per year of which 53 per cent was categorised as food waste. The audit found 50 per cent of the food waste was preventable.

Across the board, cafes and restaurants, takeaway venues and pubs, taverns and bars produced 5.6 tonnes of food waste per business every year. 54 per cent of the waste (3 tonnes) could have been prevented.

Another study found hospitality operators are aware of the issue, with more than four in five considering food waste as a significant issue in the industry. Unpredictable food sales or unfinished customer meals were identified as the primary causes of food waste.

Reducing operating costs (50 per cent) and minimising environmental impacts (48 per cent) were marked as the primary motivators to take action.

To help tackle the issue, Sustainability Victoria has launched the Love Food Hate Waste Business program to provide practical support to foodservice businesses.

The short program is free and available to all Victorian hospitality businesses (regional and metro). Business will be able to access food waste tracking tools, action plans and online support to identify where food waste is occurring within a business.

For more information on the Love Food Hate Waste program, and to make food waste your business, visit