Food tastes better when you share it

We’re always looking for more ways in which we can help our clients hit their eco and CSR targets.

In the past events have been heavy consumers, in particular where it comes to food waste. The recent Beyond Food report estimates current food waste still stands at a dismaying 15%-20%.

We believe in taking proactive steps to minimise our impact and our in-house catering team, Tobacco Dock Food, wanted to find solutions which make tangible difference and can add benefit rather than simply cancelling out the impact. We’ve long waved farewell to plastic straws and disposable serveware, swapping them out in favour of compostable plates and single-use glasses, glass or can packaging for water and

The changes we’ve implemented have resulted in over +84,000 school meals for children living in poverty and redistributed the equivalent of 1,000 meals in the local community from the meals that have been passed on from our events.

The problem

We all want to see and experience generous hospitality, but the reality is that an enormous amount of food is wasted across the events industry. We work carefully with clients on portion control and working to precise attendee lists, but as any event professional knows, it’s almost impossible to anticipate actual numbers and appetites with 100% accuracy. Err on the side of caution and you might end up with empty plates and hungry guests, assume that everyone who said they will come will attend and you could end up with dishes of uneaten food.

Our solutions

1. Sharing is caring

While we work hard to cater in a considered way, there are often leftovers. OLIO and City Harvest collect leftover meals and redistribute them in the community to those who really need them. In the past this partnership has been an optional extra – now we add it as standard at no additional extra cost to the client to ensure we can use the service when we need it.

Sharing food in this way makes a tangible impact. At Alteryx’s Inspire Europe event, OLIO redistributed +300 meals to the local community. The environmental impact of this represents an equivalent of 612kg CO2 emissions avoided and +100,000 litres water saved as a result of this food being eaten and not thrown away.

2. Rethinking the meaning of ‘good food’

One Feeds Two is an incredible charity helping to feed the world’s poorest children. For every meal we cater at Tobacco Dock, we buy a school meal for a child living in poverty.

We began contributing in this way during our Christmas party season in December 2021 and it immediately proved popular with our clients. Building on this success, we’ve now extended this initiative to cover all our conference catering year-round.

In terms of what this represents on a practical level, in the period between Christmas 2021 and March 2023, we’ve donated +78,000 meals for One Feeds Two.

The impact for our clients

While we are committed to tackling food waste at source, through careful ordering and provision, these initiatives give our clients further reassurance that their events are able to hit challenging CSR targets. Metrics outlining the food sharing impact are a great medium to illustrate the sustainability of your event, and when working with one of our food waste partners, we’re able to provide just that!

As we progress along the sustainability journey, we are constantly developing fresh ideas and processes that will help our venue and the events we hold here become ever more environmentally kind, so keep your eyes peeled on our blog and social media for updates!