International hotel chain to grow its own food

Accorhotels has announced that it will grow vegetables at 1,000 of its hotels around the world in an effort to cut food waste by a third by 2020. A pilot project at one of its hotels in Bangkok led to a 50 per cent drop in food waste in only four months.

Accorhotels, which includes the Ibis, Mercure, Novotel and Sofitel chains, has announced that it intends to cut food waste by over 30 per cent over the next five years, “in particular by sourcing food locally,” explained chief executive Sebastien Bazin.

The announcement was made as part of the French group’s sustainability plans to curb its environmental footprint. As the Associated Press reports, AccorHotels currently generates 25 to 30 per cent of its revenue by serving 150 million meals per year.

As a first step, its restaurants will be required to conduct an audit of its food waste by weighing the food thrown away in kitchens and setting up an appropriate action plan to reduce this, according to the group’s website.

Its restaurants will also likely serve fewer meals, down from the current 40 main courses.

“In the future, we’re going to have menus with 10, 15 or 20 main courses, with more local producers,” explained Amir Nahai, who leads AccorHotel’s food operations.

Its biggest announcement: the group intends to plant 1,000 vegetable gardens in many of its 3,900 hotels to support urban agriculture and local food production. The move will significantly lower its food supply chain footprint by all but eliminating transport emissions for produce.

AccorHotels has already undertaken efforts to reduce food waste. At the Novotel Nantes Carquefou in France, the restaurant reuses leftover pastries from breakfast to prepare puddings. The Pullman in Auckland in New Zealand makes marmalade from the oranges it uses to make juice for breakfast, while the MGallery Hotel St-Moritz in Queenstown, New Zealand turns leftover milk into cheese.

The Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit in Thailand has been testing a pilot system to measure and monitor its food waste, and an action plan to reduce it. In just four months, it has seen a 50 per cent drop in its food waste.

Up to one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted before it reaches our plates, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. This amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes of food per year.


Image credit: sean_hickin, flickr/Creative Commons

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