Posted on 7th September 2020

Waste Not, Want Not – How to cut food waste on set

We explore the steps you can take to reduce food waste

Over 1/3 of the food we produce globally goes to waste

In fact if food waste was a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after USA and China.

As individuals there’s a lot we can do to try and reduce our own waste but the same is true at work – both in the production office and on location.

After energy and travel, one of the biggest changes you can make to reducing a production’s impact is to look at the catering choices you make. Opting for a caterer who can offer majority planet based meals for your cast and crew and who can reduce the need for disposable crockery and cutlery (at least outside of a pandemic) will be helping to you to reduce your footprint as much as possible (and possibly your budget too)

However, food waste is not always a consideration for busy production managers who might arguably see this as the role of the catering team. However there are a number of things you can think about doing to minimise your food waste – below we’ve listed several options – get in touch with us if you have other tips and tricks too!

6 ways to reduce food waste


Make it a condition of the contract. Make sure you’re clear with your caterers from the outset that you want to minimise food wastage. Clear communication before you’ve even confirmed your caterers will help to put you on the right track.

Pre order

One of the odd upsides to our new working ways (thanks to Covid) is that a lot of productions are pre ordering food for cast and crew. This can massively reduce food waste as food can be cooked to order.

Take-home treats

Could you offer food leftovers from catering to cast and crew to take home? Chat to your catering team to see what’s possible

Become a food waste hero!

Take OLIO’s simple online course and you can be helping to distribute food in your local area. Or speak to OLIO who can send local food waste heroes to you on location or in the office to pick up leftover food at the end of each day for redistribution.

In the office

And it’s not just when you’re on set too. If you’ve got a surplus of food left in your production office at the end of the day, speak to a company like OLIO who can help redistribute it

Give food, get food

Long day at the office? Why not also take advantage of food going spare in your local area. Log in to OLIO and see what food people are offering in your local area and enjoy a free meal, feeling smug in the knowledge that you’re also reducing waste.

Case Study: KEO Films

KEO Films (producers of 2010’s Exit Through the Gift Shop and TV shows such as Hugh’s War on Waste) have been using OLIO to make sure their leftover food from filming doesn’t go to waste. They’ve joined forces for their latest series Britain’s Best Home Cook


As champions of sustainability and an albert affiliate, KEO Films are excited to have found OLIO to help manage the local distribution of our surplus food on set. Their service has been very easy and efficient, and the communication has been brilliant. We feel very safe in the knowledge that our surplus food is not going to waste and is being used by people locally who will make something amazing from it.

Eliminating food waste by redistributing good food to those who need it was always built in to the production plan for Britain’s Best Home Cook, and partnering with OLIO has helped us to do that even more effectively. I have great admiration for the amazing work they did during lockdown and we look forward to continuing the partnership.

— Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - KEO Films Director

Individuals – Become a food waste hero – take OLIO’s simple course and you can be helping to distribute food in your local area. Alternatively use the app to find food from other local food heroes.

Production – Looking to reduce your food waste in the office or on set? Chat to the team at OLIO who can help

Caterers – Are you looking for ways to reduce your food waste? Talk to OLIO about how they can help you distribute your food once the production day is over

Check out our list of green suppliers working in this area. Search 'catering' or 'waste'

OLIO's food waste heroes pick up and redistribute food that would otherwise go to landfill.

OLIO's food waste heroes pick up and redistribute food that would otherwise go to landfill.