More than 2000 meals made in Devon’s hospitals end up in the bin every week. Food wasted mainly comes from either meals left on the serving trolley or meals served to patients but do not get eaten.
A charity group called WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) carried out research which suggests that only 8% of food waste in hospitals may be due to unserved meals. In a study carried out by NHS (National Health Service) trusts across England, over 2,000 meals per week are abandoned on trolleys. In March, 273 tonnes of food went unserved in one week.
How to reduce waste
For hospitals that have high daily traffic, what works is having a menu with a high number of single meals. Patients can place their orders close to meal time which helps reduce food rejection.
Some hospitals operate a point of service system where meals are not cooked unless needed after an order has been placed. Such hospitals have patients who would not be required to stay for long
Food binning is concerning because of costs linked to such wastage. While hospitals are allowed to have a marginal amount of binning due to the fact that patients may be ill, wastage should be checked where possible. Solutions like single ordering systems, point of service ordering and placing orders close to meal times are such methods to reduce food binning.