AHLA, WWF celebrate five years of preventing food waste

The Hotel Kitchen program, a partnership between the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), marks five years of fighting food waste this year. The program works with the hospitality industry using strategies to engage staff, partners and guests in cutting waste from hotel kitchens.

By preventing food waste from occurring at their properties, donating excess food that is still safe for people to eat and diverting the rest away from landfills, hotels participating in the Hotel Kitchen program saw reductions of up to 38% of food waste in just 12 weeks. Food waste occurs while 41 million Americans, including 13 million children, are food insecure, and it poses one of the biggest environmental threats to the planet.

“Reducing food waste not only decreases the industry’s environmental footprint and helps fight world hunger, but directly impacts our hotels’ bottom line, engages staff and strengthens relationships with our customers,” said Chip Rogers, president/CEO, AHLA. “Over the years, hotels have made impressive progress in lowering our carbon emissions; sourcing responsibly; and reducing food, energy and water waste. Our members’ work with Hotel Kitchen is just one example of the many sustainability efforts taking place across the hospitality industry.”

Pete Pearson, senior director, food loss and waste, WWF, said, “When we started the Hotel Kitchen program five years ago, we knew the hospitality and tourism industry was ideally situated to make a major impact in the fight against food waste. By engaging every level of the hospitality industry, from hotel owners to guests, we can re-establish food cultures that contemplate the many sacrifices we make to grow and deliver food including biodiversity loss, land use, water and energy. We can honor this sacrifice by reducing waste.”

Hotel Kitchen has provided hoteliers with numerous resources, including ways to communicate food waste to guests; case studies from properties that have reduced food waste through the program; and a toolkit that reports on key findings, best practices and next steps to tackle food waste. In 2021, Greenview, WWF and a cohort of the largest hotel brands developed methodologies for hotel waste measurement, and brand and corporate strategies addressing food waste across the hospitality and food service sector continue to be guided by Hotel Kitchen.