A new research project that focusses on how to reduce food waste in the tourism industry could contribute to lasting environmentally-friendly change, Newsmaker reports.
In the three-year project University of Adelaide researchers will work alongside industry stakeholders with funding from the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) to understand current challenges and opportunities to reduce food waste across the sector.
“In 2021, the National Food Waste Strategy Feasibility Study reported that food waste from hospitality consumption, of which tourism is a subset, totalled approximately 1,217,000 tonnes per annum,” said the University of Adelaide’s Dr Tracey Dodd, Adelaide Business School, who is leading the study.
“Other research shows that hotels, cruises, convention centres, and other tourism operators waste up to 20 per cent of all food purchased. This is due to overproduction, cooking mistakes, damaged products, and leftovers. This presents opportunities for improvements and savings.”
The team will gather interview data from a national sample of hotels, cruises, convention centres, and other tourism operators. Interviews will seek to understand existing practices, processes and challenges in the industry, including underlying organisational culture and norms that inform practices.
Associate Professor Duygu Yengin from the School of Economics and Public Policy is part of the team.
“The tourism sector has a competitive advantage in addressing food waste as the sector constitutes 10 per cent of the world’s GDP and employs 10 per cent of the global workforce,” she said.
“We have a rare opportunity to reassess and consider food waste measures as a way to improve profitability, as well as align the sector’s food services toward a more socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable future.”
Information collected will be used to identify opportunities for improvement, including new models, structures or practices to support more responsible food management in the future.