Group general manager, The Loco Group
SCRAPS TO RICHES
FINDING FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITIES IN FOOD WASTE MANAGEMENT.
Protein crisps from chicken trim. Tea from coffee bean husks. Spent grains from breweries turned into fibre-rich superflour. Enterprising companies have been creating value out of food waste for years. Last year, CNBC reported that tackling food waste can present some US$2.5 trillion (S$3.5 trillion) worth of business opportunities.
William Leonard, group general manager of The Loco Group that spearheaded the F&B Sustainability Council – a collective of hospitality and lifestyle companies addressing sustainability – agrees that there are benefits. Repurposing what could have been binned may contribute to some $20,000 to $30,000 in savings for a restaurant each year.
“Our bars use syrup made out of avocado seeds, and a lot of leftover garnishes are dehydrated and used as a dust on the rims,” he reveals. Imagine extrapolating this same repurposing creativity on an industrial scale. The council is lobbying for a collective food waste processor and positioning itself as a platform for testing new technologies through working with government agencies. In the next three or four months, it will launch a pilot programme with home-grown company TRIA, which makes sustainable packaging from food waste.
Leonard highlights that existing food waste processors tend to be for large-scale use, leaving independent F&B operators in the cold. On the other hand, while compact undercounter processors with a 50kg capacity might be suited for small restaurants – which he estimates can generate around 30kg of food waste daily – they remain inaccessible with a price tag of $5,000 to $10,000. There is a gap in the market to fill, and he hopes that the council can demonstrate this to technology providers.
But for all the money talk, Leonard stresses this: “Our objective is not to look at the issue from a cost point of view – doing this isn’t going to generate great profits in six months. We are doing this simply because it is the right thing to do.”
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