‘Sustainability is not an issue, but a requirement’

Paul van Oers from Hotel School Maastricht during the FCSI conference

Congress – The transition to sustainability and less food waste was the central theme of the FCSI Congress Hospitality Hub 2022 at Hotel de Werelt in Lunteren. The conference, which was postponed for two years due to corona, had a good line-up with speakers such as Paul van Oers from Hotel School Maastricht, Emma Kallen sustainability consultant at Factor Delta, impact manager Kathelijn van Elk from Too Good To Go and Jos Klerx , Sector Specialist Catering and Leisure at Rabobank.

FCSI is a worldwide association of consultants and professionals in the world of food, beverage and accommodation with approximately 1,500 members. Every year, the association organizes a conference in the Netherlands, which was postponed twice due to corona. The last congress was well attended and there was a good interaction between congress participants and the speakers. Today’s chairman was Maarten Wessels, who did not have to add much to the quality of the lectures. Paul van Oers discussed the changes that the young people had brought about. “GenZ is a generation that is purpose-driven,” says speaker Van Oers. He enthusiastically informed those present that the new generation requires change and has a very different view of existing conditions. And those changes also need to happen faster than they are happening now. But Van Oers had another warning: “Young people, especially millennials, are critical and start asking questions about the products. If we do not give them good answers, we will lose the young people. And without young people, the foodservice sector has no future. ” In addition, Van Oers appealed no longer to talk about food service and food retail, but about food business. “These two food worlds are becoming more and more intertwined so that the food business covers the load better. And we must offer young people something if we want to continue to attract them. Many initiatives from the past are ‘burning platforms’, they no longer matter, for example, the MBO has 85 percent fewer registrations for catering and food service in all kinds of disciplines, so food training should be faster and more effective and should be more based on collected data. “

Disruptive innovation platform

Van Oers also dreams of a disruptive innovation platform for HBO + Food Business Talents. “A platform where the most crazy and disruptive ideas are developed. Where everything is possible and allowed, and where nothing is impossible. A platform for rebels, innovators, stubborn troublemakers and dissidents. Strong individuals who use their own talents as a compass and who know that analog knowledge is no longer good enough. ” Followers behind this story could have themselves immortalized in yellow boots that Van Oers had specially brought with him. He also uses these boots for his students at the University of Applied Sciences in Maastricht, who have a new vision for the food industry.


Jan Klerx from Rabobank highlighted another threat to the food service market, namely the availability of basic ingredients and food waste. The two are equally important, according to Rabobank’s sector specialist Horeca and Fritid. “In 2050, we must produce 60 percent more together if we want food and drink for everyone. Five million new mouths are added to the world every month. And already 800 million people are permanently hungry. “Everyone knows that not everything is fairly distributed in the world, but it is not clear to everyone that by reducing food waste in the Western world, the hunger problem can in principle be solved.” Worldwide, about a third of the food produced is wasted. It is theoretically about four times the amount needed to feed more than 800 million hungry people. By 2030, food waste must be reduced by 50%. In the EU, consumers lose food for 30 billion euros and a further 60 billion euros in the production process. This is especially true for perishable foods, such as meat, fruits and vegetables. Huge amounts, which are not only a waste of raw materials, but also money and unnecessary CO2 emissions. According to Klerx, it already helps if people are aware of food waste. Previous tests have shown that companies participating in a Food Waste Challenge already had 15% less food waste in eight weeks.

Too Good To Go

Kathelijn van Elk’s contribution from Too Good To Go also dealt with food waste. Her organization, which is now active in 17 countries, has developed an app to combat this waste. Many supermarkets, healthcare institutions and food companies work with the app. In the Too Good To Go app, you can buy so-called Magic Boxes. The bakers, cafes, restaurants and supermarkets attached to it fill the boxes with everything they have left that day. So the content varies from day to day, that’s the magic. The prices at the box office vary between three and five euros and can be picked up the next day. Bread is clearly the product that is thrown out the most. Every day, 800,000 loaves of bread are thrown out in the Netherlands. An unimaginable amount. But the amount of other products does not lie either. According to Van Elk, an important factor for disposal is the best-before date on the packaging. It is responsible for 10% of food waste. She argues for using the senses to see if the food is still good. Color and odor indicate when a product can no longer be ingested.


Emma Kallen also focused on the theme of food waste. This is not only important because of the environmental impact, it is also important economically. At the Factor Delta consulting firm itself, they use a kind of maxim that every euro spent on tackling food waste in a company can pay up to fourteen times. So there is every reason to be aware of that. According to Kallen, the most important thing to be aware of in food service is to make the right amount. Measurement is very important in that context. And then they discuss data with all those responsible, buyers, production / kitchen staff and possibly also with suppliers. According to the consultant, this gives you a better overview of the main causes of waste.

Source: @FoodClicks

Author: Steffen van Beek

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