From Food Waste to Good Taste: HKU x GREEN Hospitality Drive Resource Circulation in Hong Kong
Did you know that one in five people in Hong Kong lives in poverty and is in need of nutritious food, while Hong Kong’s hospitality industry produces an average of 778 tons of food waste every day?
That has prompted the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Hong Kong to take on a new challenge - to identify ways to reduce, reuse, and find innovative solutions to the food waste problem exacerbated by the hospitality industry in the city. Titled “Food Waste to Good Taste”, the project is funded by the HKU Knowledge Exchange and supported by partners such as GREEN Hospitality and the Hong Kong Chefs Association. Throughout the six-month project period from January to June 2023, science, industry expertise, and youth power will collide to create new ways of thinking about food surplus.
Through the project, the co-organisers hope to share their knowledge in food waste management with the wider community and contribute to the reduction of food waste in landfills while creating opportunities for improving food security.
Ten Food Waste Audits will be conducted in local hotels and restaurants. Facilitated by GREEN Hospitality and supported by the Hong Kong Chefs Association and key F&B leaders, the audits will be leveraged to assess the business potential of surplus food that currently ends up in landfills. A case study on the cost and environmental impact of food waste in Hong Kong, and a business case on the potential of innovative and technological solutions to tackle food waste will be presented as a result of the audits.
Moreover, three Food Waste Workshops will be hosted during the project period. The focus of these knowledge exchange sessions will be sharing best practices and opportunities on food waste, innovation, and sustainability of food systems. Designed to be industry-driven, the content of these workshops aims to serve as practical and attainable solutions. Each session will feature local F&B leaders and will be supported by the Hong Kong Chefs Association as well as partners such as The Nature Conservancy and TREEHOUSE.
Further, as part of the project, we will run an Innovation Program, which will be a synergy of science, industry expertise, and student innovation. Teams from HKU’s School of Biological Sciences and the Business School will be tasked with creating a product out of “food waste”. The innovation can be either edible or non-edible and student teams will pitch their solutions to a panel of distinguished judges in June 2023. To ensure the students have the industry knowledge and technical know-how to design a prototype, technological advice and mentorship will be provided by hospitality industry practitioners, entrepreneurs, and scientists throughout.
Finalists of the Student Innovation Program Competition will be invited to exclusive site visits to gain insights on the different steps and processes along the hospitality value chain, from farming to turning food waste into electrical power.
Additionally, a series of Innovation Program Seminars will be organised for all HKU students and staff members who are interested in food waste challenges to spread awareness and inspire wider change.
If you would like to take up this challenge to help Hong Kong’s hospitality industry turn food waste into good taste, check out the the opportunities offered by the programme below:
Project Organisers & Partners:
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong studies the proximate mechanisms underlying biological systems as well as their ultimate outcomes. Teaching and research contributes to the understanding, appreciation and conservation of nature in Hong Kong and globally. The School received a Knowledge Exchange Fund to implement a Strategic Impact Project: Food Waste to Good Taste.
The HKU Knowledge Exchange has traditionally empowered the HKU faculty members to contribute to society. The knowledge exchange activities usually involve applied research, technology transfer, delivery of professional and continuing education courses, public lectures, and expertise sharing through professional bodies and media. The knowledge exchange activities are a natural consequence of research and teaching, and are at the heart of the wide range of activities that the faculty members undertake in the non-academic sectors of the society.
GREEN Hospitality is a non-profit making organisation that brings together businesses, academia, the nonprofit sector, start-ups, and the government to share knowledge, create alliances, and find solutions through innovation, collaboration, and research.
The Hong Kong Chefs Association (HKCA) is a non-profit making organisation that fosters training and educational activities of junior members and promotes chefs, and food and beverage professionals in Hong Kong as well as in the international realm.
Tung Ching Li