In 2017 the Clean Technology Centre (CTC) received funding from The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAMF) and its Rural Innovation and Development Fund to collaborate with Local Development Companies (LDCs) and Local Authority Enterprise Offices (LEOs) to support businesses preventing food waste in the East Cork region in a pilot project.
Savour Food is a support programme for Irish food service businesses. The core aim of Savour Food is to help businesses reduce food waste and save money.
In Ireland, the food service sector (incl. hotels and restaurants) wastes about 100,000 tonnes of food waste every year, costing an estimated €270 million.
In the following years CTC worked closely with many companies in East Cork to reduce food waste in their facilities and operations. Due to the success of this pilot project and its impressive results, in 2019 Savour Food was expanded to include businesses in the Clonakilty and Ballyhoura Regions.
Savour Food continued working in the East Cork region as well as expanding the programme to West Cork and the Ballyhoura region. CTC, along with project partners SECAD, Ballyhoura Development, Cork and Limerick County LEOs, and local stakeholders engaging extensively with businesses involved in the food processing, retail, accommodation and food service sectors.
Businesses in each of the regions were selected and trained in identifying food waste prevention/reduction and are provided with on-site assistance in identifying and implementing food waste prevention opportunities.
In 2021 the development of an online tool during allowed business participation nationally. Those who engage with the tool receive tailored support material for their business, including lists of actions which can be taken to better manage and prevent food waste. Because of Covid restrictions, it was necessary to move some of the programme online. All food-related companies now can use the free online tool which is designed to attract and engage food service providers. It offers
- advice on food waste management from top chefs,
- guides business on how to establish a good waste management system
- enables businesses to estimate the cost of their food waste and benchmark against Irish best practice data and
- recommends measures which business can adopt to reduce food waste.
Since 2021 CTC has been active in engaging in a concerted campaign to promote the online tool, developing additional video resources, extending the reach of seminars and onsite support to Connaught and Leinster and continuing to provide technical support to businesses undertaking food waste prevention projects. In this way, we aim to continue to facilitate local level changes in attitudes and behaviours through seminars while also promoting the message on the importance of food waste prevention, the Savour Food Tool and at a national level by attending events.