- The Rockefeller Foundation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) have announced a program that will train hotel staff to reduce food waste, according to a press release.
- The 12-week pilot program will encourage chefs to rethink menus and design banquet meals so excess food can be reused for other occasions. The goal is to identify effective food reduction policies that can be put in place across the entire global hospitality industry, according to AHLA CEO Katherine Lugar.
- Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and Marriott International properties will all participate in the program, as well as Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, Sage Hospitality and Terranea Resort.
As efforts to reduce food waste expand, hotels are being targeted as a main source of the problem — and in some areas, they're starting to pay the price. In New York, hotels with 150 rooms or more can now face civil penalties for not complying with the city's commercial organic waste diversion requirement. Similarly in Austin, TX, hotels larger than 5,000 square feet will be mandated to develop an organics recycling plan by October 2017.
Much of this regulation around hotel food waste is inspired by the all-you-can-eat buffets commonly served at many large chains. Some hotel operators worry about the risks of self-serve buffets and are hesitant to donate or reuse leftover food, despite protections under the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Donation Act. This program's efforts are designed to remove this stigma around leftovers and transform the way both staff and guests perceive and consume excess food.
The Rockefeller Foundation is not a new fighter of food waste, as the Foundation has spent the last few years partnering with various organizations globally on many initiatives. Its most recent project was the launch of the online hub "Further With Food," which offers a wealth of resources and solutions for communities looking to reduce food waste.