Elior produces around 2,340 tons of food every day to feed 3.9 million guests around the world. Honoring its commitment to protect the planet’s resources and to change eating habits, the Group aims to reduce food waste by 30% by 2025 relative to 2020. We mark European Sustainable Development Week with a quick overview of the actions being taken in all the countries where the Group operates.
Using artificial intelligence to cut down on food waste
Elior has developed a tool that uses artificial intelligence to compile and cross-reference several datasets covering, for example, daily restaurant traffic, outside events, and weather conditions to predict the number of guests on a given day to a high degree of accuracy. This unique tool gives head chefs a precise number of meals to prepare so they can avoid any waste by making just enough food. Adopted at more than 350 sites in France, it also increases guest satisfaction by helping chefs prepare dishes better suited to their tastes. Elior will progressively roll out the AI tool at the school cafeterias it manages over the course of the coming school year.
In Italy, Elior’s kitchen teams use an AI solution designed by Winnow Solutions to track food waste, see where it is coming from, and adjust what they make to better suit guests’ tastes. Since its adoption, food waste has been cut by 60%.
Making use of leftovers and avoiding the landfill
Elior is doing its best to promote eating leftovers so they don’t become organic waste. To that end, the Group formed a partnership in 2019 with Too Good To Go, the number 1 app for fighting food waste. The app allows guests to take their corporate canteen’s lunch leftovers home with them. Since the partnership began, guests have taken home 32,000 to-go containers in France (saving 80tCO2 at 295 sites) and 3,800 containers in Spain (26 sites).
Elior has bolstered the partnership by raising awareness in schools with its “My Anti-Waste School” campaign, which it launched in May 2022. The campaign supplies teachers and child-care providers with educational resource packs to teach children about food waste. In Spain, Serunion has been working with students since 2016 as part of a program called “Food isn’t garbage” that was designed by three NGOs. Since its launch, waste is down 16.3%.
The Group has also committed to recycling cooking oil into sustainable fuel. We have been working with companies which have been collecting used cooking oil from Elior’s restaurants for over 20 years and processing it into biofuels, including Refood, an organic waste recycler.
We have also redistributed 90 tons of food via donations to associations such as food banks, Excellents Excédents, Restos du cœur, and others.
Preventing waste, modernizing production and consumption
Since September 2021, Elior has implemented a tool that is integrated into the sites' daily management interfaces to measure waste on the production side (not cooking too much food) and on the service side (not serving guests more than they can eat). A training session dedicated to operational culinary teams, comparing food waste at each stage of production and service with inflation-related issues, will be distributed to all employees from mid-October (World Food Day).
Outside of the kitchen, the Group has been encouraging guests to think about new forms of responsible consumption, for example by sharing anti-waste tips from Elior’s chefs, and improving its distribution and service methods (adjustable portion sizes, serving bread at the end of the line or upon request, etc.).
Chefs are inventing zero-waste recipes that cater to regional cuisines in all the countries where we operate. Our Waste Nothing program in the US lets chefs show off their creativity in monthly recipe contests using scraps and leftovers as ingredients.
All these efforts to reduce catering activities’ food waste are part of the Group’s strategy of lowering greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the planet.