Saving ‘Ugly Veg’ from Waste
Atalian Servest catering business Angel Hill and Academy has saved over 200,000 kilogrammes of ‘ugly veg’ from going to waste during the last eighteen months.
Following its implementation of an ‘ugly veg’ campaign, Angel Hill and Academy now only purchase cultivated ingredients from a list of 77,000 items if they are deemed ‘ugly’ or ‘wonky’ and would otherwise have been discarded or sold at very low prices, whenever possible. The contract caterer made the switch in the autumn of 2019, as a means of tackling the vast global issue of food waste in line with the company’s increasing focus on CSR. Their prerogative is to support UK farmers, helping them achieve a fair price and route to market for their yield.
On average, farmers reportedly struggle to sell 16 per cent of their annual crop yield for purely aesthetic reasons. In the United Kingdom, two-thirds of total food waste is classified as ‘edible’.
Over the last 18 months Angel Hill and Academy have worked closely with their quality fresh produce providers to expand the variety of ‘ugly veg’ and adapt their menus to introduce even more seasonal lines. A fully comprehensive recipe portfolio is being developed for all sites which utilises each month’s seasonal ‘ugly’ produce. Dishes will include soups, meat, vegetarian and vegan main courses, desserts and home bakes. Seasonal produce is front and centre of the company’s food concepts and initiatives.
The business and industry (B&I), education and healthcare caterers regularly promote ‘ugly’ meals across all sites, highlighting the issues of food waste to customers and educating and empowering them to make choices which reduce their own individual food waste.
With this programme already firmly embedded in the business, the aim is to further inform on-site teams, clients and customers alike about the issue of food waste and to equip the caterers’ food production teams with practical tips and great recipes to use as part of their daily offer.
Fresh vegetables make up the largest proportion of edible food that is wasted according to the circular economy charity, Wrap, making initiatives such as these a vital part of changing the way the industry approaches food and food waste.
Henry Watts, managing director, Catering at Atalian Servest, comments: “We are thrilled to see what a huge difference our ‘ugly veg’ campaign has made in the space of 18 months. Caterers have a huge responsibility to their clients and to the planet, our ‘ugly veg’ campaign allows us to create fantastic seasonal dishes while benefitting the environment. We look forward to growing this initiative to make an even bigger impact over the coming months and years.”