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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Towards a baseline for food-waste quantification in the hospitality sector — quantities and data processing criteria

Malefors, Christopher; Callewaert, Pieter; Hansson, Per-Anders; Hartikainen, Hanna; Pietilainen, Oona; Strid, Ingrid; Strotmann, Christina; Eriksson, Mattias


There is an urgent need for primary data collection on food waste to obtain solid quantification data that can be used as an indicator in the goal of halving food waste by 2030. This study examined how quality baselines for food waste can be achieved within the different segments of the hospitality sector, encompassing establishments such as canteens, elderly care units, hospitals, hotels, preschools, primary schools, restaurants, and upper secondary schools. The empirical material comprised food-waste quantification data measured in 1189 kitchens in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Germany for 58,812 quantification days and 23 million portions. All the data were converted to a common format for analysis. According to the findings, around 20% of food served became waste. Waste per portion varied widely between establishments, ranging from 50.1 +/- 9.4 g/portion for canteens to 192 +/- 30 g/portion for restaurants. To identify the measurement precision needed for tracking changes over time, we suggest statistical measures that could be used in future studies or in different food-waste tracking initiatives.


quantification; baseline; sustainable development goals; benchmark; waste per portion; restaurants; hotels; schools; measurements

Published in

2019, Volume: 11, number: 13, article number: 3541