Just over half of global respondents to a survey by GlobalData have stated that reducing or recycling food waste is a priority to them because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase in awareness around food wastage will increase pressure on companies operating in the travel and tourism sector.
Ralph Hollister, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “When it comes to environmental policies, there are plenty of initiatives to address climate change and reducing carbon footprint, but the same level of attention is not given to the increasingly pressing issue of food wastage. This increases operating expenses for the likes of hotels and weakens green credentials.
“The initiatives currently in place to combat food wastage from tourism is not enough – especially when looking at the lodging industry specifically. As one of many examples, Hilton has pledged to reduce food waste by 50%, but not until 2030, which is quite a lengthy timescale.”
With COVID-19 shattering occupancy rates for many major players in the lodging industry, environmental targets should be exceeded and brought forward. Removing large-scale buffets in hotels, for example, would go a long way to completely eradicating food waste. However, with industries becoming more fragmented, new challenges around food wastage are created. For example, the emergence of the sharing economy in the lodging industry has placed greater responsibility on the shoulders of guests when it comes to food wastage. Wastage in private accommodation cannot be regulated as thoroughly as it could be in hotels, as it would negatively impact the guest experience.
* GlobalData’s Week 11 COVID-19 Recovery Survey (fieldwork undertaken 2-6 December). ‘slightly’ ‘significantly’ or now a ‘top’ priority combined.