DD1496 FoodSave – Legacy Project Phase

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
11 May 2016
Decision by: 
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

FoodSave supported Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to reduce their food waste, donate surplus food to good causes and better manage their waste by starting food waste collections by following the food waste hierarchy.  The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funded phase of the programme ran from November 2013 to June 2015 and supported 170 London SMEs in the food service sector.  Efficiencies made during the period of ERDF funding resulting in a surplus budget of £45,000. 

To maximise the benefits achieved during the ERDF funding phase the legacy phase will disseminate the findings and lessons learnt across London by implementing the principles of reducing food waste (food waste hierarchy) by partnering with important stakeholders such as Chartered Institute of Environment Health (CIEH), the Waste and Recycling Action Programme (WRAP) and London Businesses Waste and Recycling (part of LWARB), the GLA can ensure business food waste reduction is a priority area and the message and lessons learnt cascaded across the food service sector using a bottom up and top down approach. It is intended that this will be undertaken by a fixed-term grade-8 post. 


That the Director approves the use of FoodSave underspend of £45,000 to carry out further work with Small and Medium (SME) food sector businesses in London.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background


1.1    The FoodSave programme ran from November 2013 to June 2015, with delivery finishing in March 2015 due to European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) end of programme deadline. The programme was approved under MD1149.

1.2    The FoodSave was funded by the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), the GLA Food Team, with GLA programme and in-kind contributions and the project match funded by ERDF.

1.3    The programme was delivered by two delivery partners, the Sustainable Restaurant Association and Sustain. Each delivery partner, recruited Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), measured and monitored their food waste and implemented tailored interventions.

1.4    170 SMEs have been supported to reduce their food waste, donate surplus food to good causes and better manage their waste by starting food waste collections by following the food waste hierarchy. 

1.5    The FoodSave programme tested the food waste hierarchy and the interventions implemented worked well. There are 18 case studies on line at www.foodsave.org to show the different and effective interventions used.

1.6    The programme achieved its output targets in terms of cost and landfill diversion, albeit the waste reduction target was not achieved. 






153 t


Landfill avoidance


1285 t


Cost savings






1.7     This was mainly due to slow initial recruitment of SMEs and the ERDF delivery deadline. By the delivery deadline in March 2015, 200 SMEs had registered to take part in FoodSave, which clearly demonstrates its popularity and success.  If the delivery deadline could have been extended, it is likely that the programme would have exceeded the reduction target and continued to over achieve the other targets. 

1.8    The mix of businesses who took part in the programme varied. The Sustainable Restaurant Association worked with 91 businesses in total which consisted of restaurants, hotels, pubs, quick service restaurants and canteens. Sustain worked with 79 businesses which consisted of food retailers, markets, manufacturers and wholesalers.  

1.9    In addition to the 170 food sector SMEs, 57 charities have also been supported and benefited from the FoodSave programme through receiving surplus food donations, making significant savings in food costs. Using the City Harvest project calculations, the surplus food donated to charities has provided 306,000 meals.

1.10    FoodSave generated a host of other benefits including resoundingly positive endorsement from the sector generating national. The programme has featured on Radio 4, national newspapers such as the Guardian and the Evening Standard as well as articles in numerous trade and industry publications and websites. The ERDF funded phase of FoodSave was also selected to be a case study for the 2007 to 2013 ERDF project case study booklet. 

1.11    It also won awards from:
-    LARAC - best waste minimisation or prevention project
-    Zero Waste Award - Silver
-    The City of London’s Sustainable City Awards - Sustainable Food Award 
-    Keep Britain Tidy Golden Jubilee - Waste Less, Live More - runner up. 
-    National Recycling Award – Best Food Waste Initiative – finalist.

1.12    The original proposal under MD1149 approved a budget spend of £1m. The programme final budget spend was £718,821. £359,410 (50%) funded by ERDF and the remaining funded by project partners contributions from LWARB and the GLA including staff time in-kind.

1.13    Due to efficiencies, the programme resulted in a £45,000 underspend available to support the legacy project. This surplus can either be utilised for a Foodsave legacy project or must be handed back to LWARB as the primary contributor of cash for match.

1.14    The legacy project is proposed to be delivered by a Grade 8 for a six month period funded by the underspend (approximately £26,500 at mid point grade 8 salary scale including on-costs) with the remaining funds (£18,500) being used for consultancy services, materials and expenses occurred for the dissemination of good practice created by the Foodsave project. Any consultancy services required will be procured competitively and in accordance with the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code.

1.15    The Grade 8 role to will also support the delivery of the Mayor’s statutory duties under the Mayor’s Municipal Waste Strategy.

1.16    Due to delays from ERDF, the final claim was confirmed and paid to the GLA on 21 December 2015 which did not leave sufficient time to execute the legacy project.

Why do we need a legacy project 

1.17    Each year London sends approximately 250,000 tonnes of business food waste to landfill. Every tonne of food waste that goes to landfill results in a significant amount of CO2 eq emissions. London has a food service sector of 32,000 businesses that fit the SME criteria. Little support exists for SMEs to be more sustainable.

1.18    Scaling up the results of the FoodSave programme show that significant environmental and financial benefit can be achieved in the food sector in London (see appendix 1). FoodSave was the first project of its kind to achieve behaviour change in food service sector SMEs, and has collected valuable data from a hard to reach business sector. It is important that the lessons learnt and excellent good practice from FoodSave is continued, disseminated and promoted.

1.19    Results from this initial phase have made it clear that there are financial savings possible from hospitality SMEs by reducing their waste. Diverting surplus food to good causes has had many benefits to charities and local communities. 

1.20    A resource packed website has been established (www.foodsave.org) which is full of case studies, DIY waste audits, top tips and waste management advice. Consultation with industry leaders in London, WRAP and LWARB, have identified that there is still a gap in support available to SMEs to reduce food waste in London. In order to keep momentum behind the programme and to ensure the actions promoted are relevant and timely, it is essential that the Foodsave Legacy project commences as soon as possible.

1.21    We are not proposing that FoodSave legacy replicates the original project, however, as a way of demonstrating the potential impact to save businesses money, diverting waste from landfill and reducing carbon. We have been able to estimate the detail below to show the potential and gap in the market/need for continued business support.

1.22    London has 32,000 food service sector businesses in London that fit the SME criteria. The recruitment rate for the hospitality sector in FoodSave was 7%. If FoodSave continued the following could be achieved:
•    7% of 32,000 = 2,240 businesses taking part.
•    Average of £6000 = £13,440,000 total saved.
•    Average of 1.6t reduced = 3692t reduced by all businesses taking part.
•    CO2 savings 297 (kgCO2eq) per tonnes = 1,096,524 kgCO2eq saved collectively by all businesses taking part.

Proposed FoodSave legacy project approach

1.23    The legacy project will be delivered during 2016/17 financial year. FoodSave principles will be communicated and implemented from a bottom up and top down approach.

1.24    Important industry partners have already agreed to implement FoodSave principles into hospitality and retail industry  marketing, training tools and cascaded to district networks with authorities who work with food service sector businesses in London and across the country, for example: 
•    The Chartered institute of Environment Health (CIEH)
•    The Waste and Recycling Board (WRAP)
•    London Waste and Recycling Board’s new business waste collection entity (London Business Waste Recycling)

1.25    The project will be steered by industry experts from WRAP, LWARB, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the GLA (Environment and the Food Team). Joint working opportunities with CIEH have been highlighted after initial consultation. FoodSave lessons learnt can be integrated into CIEH marketing, training tools and cascaded to district networks with authorities who work with food service sector businesses in London and across the country. Working with CIEH will gain access to environmental health officers who work with food sector SMEs across the whole of London. Taking this approach will give the tools and training to officers who are on the ground speaking with businesses on a daily basis. The top down approach will be used to cascade food waste reduction while undertaking GLA statutory duties and embed into a longer term strategy programmes to ensure a legacy.

Statutory duties – resource requirement

1.26    In addition to delivering the FoodSave legacy phase, the post is required to implement the Mayor’s Statutory duties to review waste collection and disposal authority contracts and strategies to ensure they are in General Conformity with the Mayor’s Environment Strategy and to review borough waste plans and waste management planning applications to ensure they are in general conformity with the London Plan.



Objectives and expected outcomes

The legacy phase will focus on embedding food waste reduction into longer term strategy programmes to ensure a legacy, therefore, the objectives are not target based

•    To continue to promote food waste reduction among the business sector in London.
•    Cascade lessons learnt and good practice among three professional bodies who work with the food sector and waste, these are CIEH, WRAP and LWBR.
•    Work with key stakeholders to encourage and enable them to work more coherently together to deliver on the Mayor’s priorities.
•    To implement the principles of business food waste reduction when implementing reviews of borough waste strategies, new waste contracts, planning applications, borough plans.
•    To ensure London Waste and Recycling Board acts in accordance with the Mayor’s waste management strategy, ensuring the Emissions Performance standard is integrated in to Resource London activities. 

•    Continue to reduce business food waste, saving businesses money and reduce associated carbon emissions with food waste going to landfill
•    Continued to support the SME food service sector with information on how to reduce food waste. Through working with LBWR the GLA can ensure reduction of food waste is a priority with new collection contracts.
•    Strong relationships built with professional industry bodies who can continue to promote food waste reduction – The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, WRAP, LWARB
•    Brokered relationships between business and charities to donate surplus food
•    Stimulate behaviour change amongst businesses in the food sector 
•    Tools will be available for environmental health officers to promote food waste reduction to businesses in their boroughs.
•    Steer Resource London to ensure the Mayor’s priorities are followed.


Equality comments

No specific consultation or impact assessment has been undertaken for this programme. The programme is an evolution of previous mayoral initiatives for business food waste reduction. Furthermore, the objectives and outcomes of the project are derived from mayoral strategies which themselves have been subject to extensive consultation and impact assessment. An Equalities Impact Assessment was undertaken for FoodSave. The legacy phase will not be deviating from this Impact Assessment.


Other considerations

4.1     Key Risks

Risk Category

Level of Risk (Low, Medium, High)

Steps taken to mitigate probability and impact, both prior to risk occurring and if risk has occurred

Repetition of business support that is already exists


The steering group will consist of industry experts who will identify the gaps in the industry where a legacy project can successfully be targeted.


A proportion of businesses are not interested in signing up to further work/communications materials


Promote case studies to demonstrate savings achievable. Utilise access to business through existing channels. We are looking to integrate legacy project into communications that already exist, for example the CIEH training and resource packs for businesses and environmental health officers.


4.2        Links to strategies and Mayoral and corporate priorities

Delivery of this project will contribute to improving the quality of life for Londoners.

The statutory duties that will be carried out, along with the FoodSave legacy project are linked to the delivery of the Mayor’s environment strategy.

The FoodSave legacy project delivers on a key proposal in the current Mayor’s Business Waste Strategy (Proposal 2.2 commits to targeting London’s food waste producers to reduce food waste arisings and increase food waste diversion to composting and anaerobic digestion)

Financial comments

5.1    Directors Approval is sought for a legacy project to the Business Foodsave project that was approved MD1149.  The legacy work would provide SMEs food waste advice and support service during the 2016/17 financial year using the remaining £45,000 budget from 2015-16 following the final ERDF claim in June 2015.

    The remaining budget of £45,000 will be used for the following;
•    £26,500 to fund a  fixed term Grade 8 post (6 months, at mid-point salary scale including on-costs) to undertake the FoodSave legacy project and implement the Mayor’s statutory duties under the Mayor’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy, subject to approval by the Head of Paid Service; and
•    £18,500 being used for consultancy services, materials and expenses occurred for the dissemination of good practice created by the Foodsave project.

5.2     As the £45,000 will be from 2015-16 Foodsave budget the Environment team will need to request a budget carry forward from 2015-16 to 2016-17 and should note that the carry forward of budget is subject to yearend carry forward approval process. Should the carry forward not be agreed then the £45,000 costs will need to be met from within existing 2016-17 Environment budget

5.3    Appropriate HR approvals must be sought for the grade 8 post working on this project. 


Planned delivery approach and next steps



Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]

2 April 2016

Final evaluation start and finish (external)

March 2017

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

March 2017

 7.1       The legacy project work will be front loaded into the first 6 months however the evaluation of the outputs will not be undertaken until March 2017.  This element of the legacy project will be undertaken by the post holder on the establishment list.


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