8 Ways to Reduce Food Waste in Your Cafe

In today’s world, where sustainability is increasingly important, reducing food waste is a crucial step for any cafe striving to be environmentally responsible and economically efficient. 

Food waste not only contributes to environmental issues but also represents a significant loss of resources and revenue. 

Fortunately, there are numerous strategies that cafes can implement to minimise food waste while still delivering quality service to their customers. Here are some effective ways to achieve this goal:

Menu Planning and Forecasting

One of the primary causes of food waste in cafes is overproduction due to inaccurate menu planning and forecasting. To mitigate this issue, cafes can analyse past sales data, seasonal trends, and customer preferences to create more accurate forecasts of food demand. 

By aligning production with anticipated demand, cafes can reduce the likelihood of excess food being prepared and ultimately wasted.

Adapting Portion Sizes 

Offering the right size portions can help cafes minimise food waste while also meeting customer needs. By providing options for smaller portion sizes or offering customisable dishes, cafes can empower customers to order only what they can consume, reducing the likelihood of leftovers being discarded. 

Additionally, providing clear information on portion sizes can help customers make more informed decisions about their orders.

Projuice smoothie sachet added to a blender

Pre-Portioned Ingredients

One of the easiest ways to reduce food waste in your cafe is to switch to pre-portioned ingredients. This is especially helpful for making things like smoothies, which usually contain lots of fruity ingredients. 

Fruits and veggies make up more than a third of food waste annually. It makes sense, as they can be quicker to perish than other ingredients. Projuice offers grade A, IQF, and sustainably sourced frozen fruits and veg in pre-portioned smoothie sachets for quick and convenient drink production, without waste. 

All of our pre-portioned smoothies come in easy-to-use 150g frozen packs, which are supplied in wholesale boxes of 30 servings. To create the perfect thick Smoothie, add the contents of the pack to a blender with 200ml of juice and blend for 35 seconds. Plus, by using pre-portioned ingredients, you can ensure that the experience is consistent for your customers every time! 

Projuice also offers grade A, IQF, and sustainably sourced frozen wholesale fruit, allowing you to always have quality fruits and veg on hand without having to worry about them going off or to waste!

The sun-ripened fruits are selected, cut and frozen within 2 to 4 hours of harvesting. The fruit is frozen quickly to ensure maximum preservation of vitamins, flavours and texture. 

Projuice also offers many other pre-portioned items for your cafe, including waffle dough, milkshakes, and soft gelato-style ice cream

Food, smoothies and a menu on a cafe table

Creative Menu Engineering

Menu engineering involves strategically designing menus to promote the sale of high-margin items and reduce the waste of low-margin or perishable ingredients. Cafes can achieve this by featuring seasonal specials that utilise ingredients nearing their expiration date, creating innovative dishes that incorporate leftover ingredients, and offering combo meals that help move inventory efficiently. 

By strategically pricing and promoting items, cafes can steer customer choices towards dishes that minimise waste and maximise profitability.

Inventory Management

Effective inventory management is essential for reducing food waste in cafes. Regularly monitoring inventory levels, rotating stock to use older ingredients first, and implementing a first-in-first-out approach can help prevent ingredients from expiring or spoiling before they can be used. 

Additionally, maintaining clear communication between kitchen staff and management regarding inventory levels and ingredient usage can help prevent overordering and minimise waste.

Donation Programs

Rather than disposing of surplus food, cafes can establish partnerships with local charities or food banks to donate excess ingredients that are still safe for consumption. Donation programs not only help reduce food waste but also support communities in need. 

Apps like Too Good to Go and Karma can also be used to reduce waste on prepared goods, plus you can still earn a little on food that would otherwise be binned. 

A compost bin and vegetables


For food waste that cannot be donated or repurposed, composting provides an environmentally friendly alternative to landfill disposal. Cafes can set up composting systems either on-site or through partnerships with local composting facilities. 

Organic waste such as fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and eggshells can be composted to produce nutrient-rich compost for gardens and agriculture. Implementing composting initiatives demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and can also serve as a marketing point to attract environmentally conscious customers.

Staff Training and Awareness

Ensuring that staff members are knowledgeable about the importance of reducing food waste and equipped with the necessary skills to implement waste-reduction strategies is essential for success. 

Providing training on portion control, inventory management best practices, and proper food storage techniques can empower staff to contribute to waste reduction efforts effectively. Additionally, fostering a culture of awareness among staff members can encourage continuous improvement in waste reduction practices.

By implementing these strategies, cafes can minimise their environmental footprint, improve operational efficiency, and contribute to the larger goal of building a more sustainable food system. Embracing waste reduction practices not only benefits the bottom line but also aligns with consumer preferences for socially and environmentally responsible businesses.

If you’re interested in discovering more about how Projuice can help you to better manage the inventory in your cafe, then get in touch with us at 01395 239500 or email info@projuice.co.uk for more information on our product range.