Press Release: ReFED Analysis Uncovers Opportunity to Reduce 16 Million Tons of Food Waste in Foodservice and Restaurant Sectors

February 6, 2018

Contact: Melody Serafino, [email protected]

ReFED Analysis Uncovers Opportunity to Reduce 16 Million Tons of Food Waste in Foodservice and Restaurant Sectors

Organization Partners with Industry Leaders to Accelerate Food Waste Solutions, Launches Food Waste Action Guides

San Francisco, CA (February 6, 2018) – Today, ReFED, a multi-stakeholder nonprofit committed to reducing the $218 billion of food waste in the United States, launched two comprehensive Food Waste Action Guides for the foodservice and restaurant industries and announced a new partnership with Compass Group. Developed in partnership with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) and its members, the guides are designed to help industry leaders develop and implement food waste reduction strategies.

ReFED works directly with food businesses, foundations, innovators, investors, and policymakers to implement food waste solutions, setting a clear path to achieve the national goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030. The Foodservice and Restaurant Food Waste Action Guides were created with input from more than 80 expert contributors, including the four largest U.S. foodservice providers: Compass Group, Aramark, Sodexo, and Delaware North, and a host of leading restaurants across the country.

The Foodservice and Restaurant Food Waste Action Guides builds on ReFED’s 2016 report, A Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste by 20 Percent, the most comprehensive analysis of U.S. food waste and solutions conducted to date.

Today, the United States wastes 63 million tons, or $218 billion, of food annually. Reducing food waste increases food security, spurs economic growth, and creates local jobs. There is a 16-million ton opportunity to reduce food waste and to recover the equivalent of 1.5 billion meals per year within the foodservice and restaurant sectors.

The Foodservice and Restaurant Food Waste Action Guides provide best practices and strategies as well as present a set of proven prevention, recovery, and recycling solutions to help the industry prioritize and accelerate waste reduction activities.

“Food waste reduction is quickly becoming a key element of financial and reputational value for restaurants and foodservice providers,” explains Chris Cochran, Executive Director of ReFED. “ReFED is now partnering with leading restaurants and foodservice providers to put food waste solutions into action.”

Compass Group is launching a partnership with ReFED to conduct food waste innovation pilots at a number of Compass Group client sites over the coming year.

“Our strategic alignment with ReFED allows Compass Group to help pioneer these industry steering guides as well as pilot these new and innovative programs to drive waste reduction with our clients,” said Amy Keister, VP Sustainability and Consumer Engagement, Compass Group. “With ReFED as our partner, Compass Group is one step closer to achieving our commitment to reduce food waste by 25% by 2020.”

“Food waste reduction is an increasingly important area of opportunity and action for the restaurant and foodservice industry,” said Laura Abshire, Director of Sustainability, National Restaurant Association on behalf of FWRA.

“The Food Waste Reduction Alliance was created to help companies share insights and develop best practices on food waste reduction. The FWRA is pleased to partner with ReFED to further our work and help restaurants accomplish these goals. The release of these guides will help foodservice and restaurant operators utilize new tools, strategies, and solutions to reduce food waste in their operations.”

ReFED and Sodexo are continuing their collaboration, which began with work on the Roadmap.

“At Sodexo, we are committed to championing sustainable resource usage through our Better Tomorrow 2025 corporate responsibility strategy, and partnering with ReFED allows us to share insights, identify opportunities to innovate, and drive industry-wide change,” said Nell Fry, Senior Manager Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Sodexo North America. “Building on the impact of our work with ReFED around the launch of the Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste, this action guide will help us prioritize our actions as we work to eliminate food waste in all our operations. We are proud to have contributed to a document that will help all foodservice companies address food loss in their facilities.”

Foodservice Food Waste Action Guide

The foodservice industry, as defined by the guide, consists of businesses that provide food for client organizations, including those in healthcare, corporate, and educational settings.

Key Foodservice Food Waste Action Guide findings include:

  • Prevention solutions are the most cost-effective and could reduce annual food waste by 600,000 tons.
  • Implementing Waste Tracking & Analytics can reduce pre-consumer waste generated by contract foodservice providers by up to 50%.
  • Providing guests with varying portion choices or options and Trayless Dining can reduce post-consumer waste by as much as 30%.

“Through Green Thread, our environmental sustainability platform, Aramark focuses on implementing practices that decrease the generation and impact of food waste,” said Kathy Cacciola, Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability at Aramark. “ReFED’s Food Waste Action Guide provides a range of solutions, best practices, and case studies to help companies like ours benchmark and prioritize where they can make the greatest environmental impact.”

“As a major hospitality and food service provider, Delaware North is proud to be working with ReFED as we implement comprehensive efforts to reduce food waste at many of the unique locations where we operate,” said Deb Friedel, Delaware North’s director of sustainability. “The efforts include our chefs reducing waste during food preparation and cooking, attention to portion control, recycling and composting programs through our proprietary GreenPath stewardship platform, and a company-mandated food donation program to support local food banks throughout the United States.”

Restaurant Food Waste Action Guide

The Restaurant Food Waste Action Guide provides a template for restaurants to develop and embed a food waste reduction culture throughout their operations, and extend it to the consumer.

Key Restaurant Food Waste Action Guide findings include:

  • Prevention solutions are the most cost-effective and could reduce annual food waste by 400,000 tons.
  • Increasing recycling programs such as Centralized Composting and Anaerobic Digestion could divert 2.6 million tons of waste from landfills and reduce CO2 emissions by 1.9 million tons.
  • Providing guests with varying portion options may reduce the amount of food diners leave uneaten, which can be as much as 17% of their meals.

ReFED led the development of the Foodserviceand Restaurant Food Waste Action Guides. The Food Waste Reduction Alliance and ReFED’s Advisory Council contributed valuable insights, data, and industry perspectives to inform the analysis and solutions presented in the guides.

For direct links to the Foodservice and Restaurant Food Waste Action Guides, key insights, and relevant infographics and resources, visit

About ReFED

ReFED is a multi-stakeholder nonprofit committed to reducing the $218 billion of food waste in the United States. ReFED works with businesses, investors, innovators, and policymakers throughout the food system to implement solutions, envisioning a future where combatting food waste is a core driver of business profits, job creation, hunger relief, and environmental protection. For more about ReFED’s work, visit

ReFED is a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste across the food system by advancing data-driven solutions to the problem. ReFED leverages data and insights to highlight supply chain inefficiencies and economic opportunities; mobilizes and connects people to take targeted action; and catalyzes capital to spur innovation and scale high-impact initiatives. ReFED’s goal is a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food system that optimizes environmental resources, minimizes climate impacts, and makes the best use of the food we grow.

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