Ne’ma’s Sustainable Impact: Addressing Food Waste in the UAE Hospitality Secto …

一    Tiffany McGrath
|    December 14, 2023

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Introduction: ne’ma, a leading player in sustainability, is making significant strides in reducing food loss and waste in the hospitality sector in the UAE. Aligned with the ambitious SDG Goal 12.3, nema’s National Action at Scale initiative is tackling the substantial issue of food waste, which accounts for nearly 40% of wasted food in the UAE, costing an estimated AED 6 billion. ne’ma is targeting a 50% reduction in food loss and waste in the UAE by 50% by 2030 in an effort to decarbonise the sector.

The Challenge: In the UAE, the hospitality sector plays a pivotal role. With food service contributing to 26% of global food waste,  recognizing this, ne’ma, in collaboration with key partners like Behavioral Science Group, Winnow, Reloop, and ThUAE Food Bank, embarked on a mission to combat food waste in staff canteens, restaurants, and hotels.

Key Findings and Initiatives: Through strategic interventions, ne’ma achieved an 8.3% reduction in plated food waste, equivalent to 15.2 tons of food, in just five weeks. The success of the pilot program has paved the way for a comprehensive rollout involving 250+ participants, 340 industry professionals, and 260 hospitality sites.

Ne’ma’s Action Plan: ne’ma’s approach involves accurate segregation of food waste, measurement, and reporting. The initiative focuses on:

Kitchen Operations and Service Delivery:

  • Data analytics to identify waste hotspots.
  • Setting targets for interventions, such as optimizing production based on sales and utilizing standardized recipes.

Consumer Plate Waste:

  • Implementing data-driven measurements.
  • Modifying and replacing high-waste menu items.
  • Engaging guests in sustainability through education and signage.

Behavioural Solutions:

  • Implementing nudges for staff canteens and customers.
  • Using visual anchors, feedback wall trackers, and transparent bins to involve staff in waste reduction.
  • Employing nudge tent cards and behavioural messaging for guests.

Partnerships and Success Stories: ne’ma’s success stories include partnerships with industry giants like Hilton, which witnessed a 62% reduction in overall pre and post-consumer cover waste, resulting in annualized savings of 422,133 meals and 726 tons in CO2 emissions.

Conclusion: Nema’s comprehensive approach, encompassing data analytics, behavioural solutions, and strategic partnerships, exemplifies its commitment to reducing food waste in the hospitality sector. As Ne’ma continues its mission, the prospect of achieving the UAE’s 50% reduction target by 2030 is within reach, offering a sustainable future for the food sector and the environment.

Stay tuned for more updates and initiatives from Ne’ma as we forge ahead in our journey towards a more sustainable future.


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