For every $1 caterers invest in tackling food waste, they could save $6 in operating costs, according to the report.
The new research was conducted by Champions 12.3, a coalition of government, business and civil society leaders which aim to accelerate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of halving global food waste by 2030.
Analysing the measures taken by caterers at 86 sites across six countries, the report looked at the financial cost and benefit of food waste initiatives.
Within a year, it found that sites had reduced food waste by 36% on average and that 64% had recouped their investment.
The study also highlighted that 79% of sites managed to keep their spending on food waste reduction programs below $10,000.
Champions 12.3 said that these savings were achieved due to investments in smart scales to measure food waste, staff training and redesigned menus, for example.
“Taking action across the food industry is vital if we are to halve global food waste by 2030,” said Dave Lewis, group chief executive of Tesco and Champions 12.3 chair.
“As chair of Champions 12.3, I’m delighted to be able to share today’s report, which clearly shows that reducing food waste in the catering sector isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.”
One-third of all food produced across the world goes uneaten and accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas (GHS).
As a result, the United Nations has set a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of halving global food waste by 2030.
Food waste is not only detrimental to the environment it can also negatively impact profits, with food waste accounting for around $940bn in economic losses.
As such, Champions 12.3 have called upon caterers to adopt a “target, measure and act” approach to help reduce their kitchen food waste.
The report also outlines the five actions it believes caterers should take to implement a successful food waste programme.
These include engaging staff; starting small and getting creative; reducing overproduction; re-purposing excess food; and measuring the amount of food wasted to know where to prioritise their efforts.
Mike Hanson, Head of Sustainable Business for BaxterStorey, said: “We began segregating, weighing and reporting our food waste in early 2014 through our own online accounts portal. We split the waste into production waste, spoilage waste and plate waste and alongside that ran our in-house Green Flash training modules. We have seen some fantastic results with more than 40% reduction in waste,”
“The ROI is far-reaching and not just financial in terms of cost of food; we have also seen huge savings in waste disposal and energy costs for our clients, our margins have improved and we have seen a massive reduction in carbon and other environmental impacts.”