UK Politics

Hotel breakfast buffets are 'a food waste nightmare'

Breakfast buffet Image copyright iStock
Image caption Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall said breakfast buffets had to look "perfect" all morning

Hotel breakfast buffets are a "big nightmare" because they create so much food waste, campaigning chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall says.

The War on Waste presenter said the "inexhaustible" displays had to look perfect all morning until the final guest had finished eating.

Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall also criticised supermarkets for their approach to "wonky" vegetables.

He was addressing a committee of MPs who are investigating food waste.

Asked what the hospitality industry could do to reduce food waste, he said: "The breakfast buffet is one of the big nightmares... it must always be inexhaustible and always full and always look perfect - and it must look like that when the first guests come down at 6:30 in the morning and it must still look like that when the last guests go on their way at 10am."

He said food left over after breakfast had finished would often go to waste, calling for a "culture change" in the industry.

Pointing to notices in bedrooms asking guests to re-use their towels if they do not need washing, Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall called for a similar mindset on food, saying hotel chains should tell guests "if you get down at 09:00 you will see a diminishing buffet because we care".

Image caption Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall campaigns to reduce food waste

He also told the Commons Environment Committee some supermarkets were actively seeking out vegetables with "comedy" shapes in an attempt to show they are cracking down on waste.

He said supermarkets' response to his TV series had been "let's show we're doing something about it by bagging up the three-legged carrot and the comedy parsnip and selling it at a discount to show we as a supermarket care.

"And some supermarkets are sending people round the farms or round the factory floor looking for the comedy veg to put into the wonky veg bags."

Meanwhile, he said, "almost perfect carrots" were "ending up in a tip or in a bin outside and rotting".

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