This website uses cookies. About Cookies OK

Schools Meals - Tales from the food waste station!

From: 08 Mar 2019 - 12:45 To: 08 Mar 2019 - 14:00

Schools Meals - Tales from the food waste station!

Department of Management & Marketing host a lunchtime seminar featuring guest researcher Professor Mary Brennan from the University of Edinburgh Business School.

  Date   Friday, March 8, 2019        

  1 pm - 2 pm
  (Lunch available beforehand at 12.45) 

  Venue   Room 202 (ORB 212), O’Rahilly Building, UCC
  RSVP   To required for catering purposes.

Prof Brennan is the Chair of Food Marketing and Society at the University of Edinburgh Business School and will present her research titled "Schools Meals - Tales from the food waste station!"


In this talk I will discuss our recently completed Strength 2 Food Project providing an overview of workpackage 6 and reporting specifically on the results of our Primary School Food Plate Waste Study. Across 5 countries, 20 schools, 200 lunchtimes and 2 seasons, plate waste was collected in in Italian, Croatian, Greek, Serbian and UK primary schools.

Using the dis-aggregated plate waste method, plate waste (where food was left on trays/plates) was collected from all children taking school lunches in participating schools for 5 consecutive days across two seasons (10 days/school).

All the waste was distributed across 6 food category waste bins (Fruit, Vegetables, Starchy Carbs, Meat, Fish and Protein, Dessert, Other) and the bin weights recorded daily. In addition, in depth interviews were conducted with Head Teachers, School Cooks, Caterers and local authority management and detailed observations were made during lunchtime service. 

I will present the UK results in full exploring the levels and composition of plate waste collected, the environmental, economic and nutritional impact of the collected plate waste, and the role and impact of school policies, canteen environment and supervision on the levels and type of plate waste in UK primary schools. I will end the talk with some reflections from the coalface about how school food can be improved and plate waste reduced! 


Speaker Biographies

Mary Brennan is Chair of Food Marketing and Society at University of Edinburgh Business School. She completed her Bachelor of (Agricultural and Food) Engineering (BE) at University College Dublin (Ireland) in 1998. In September 1998, she moved to the UK and received her MSc. International Agricultural and Food Marketing and PhD (by published work) from Newcastle University (UK) in 1999 and 2011 respectively.

From September 1999, she held a series of academic positions at Newcastle University before moving to University of Edinburgh Business School in Nov 2013. Since joining University of Edinburgh Business School I have taken on the role of Head of the Marketing Group (Aug 2015 - current), been promoted to Professor of Food Marketing and Society (August 2017) and had my 3 year term as Director of UG Programmes on 1 August 2017. 

In September 2018, she was appointed as Chair of the Scottish Food Coalition, a coalition of NGO, academic and other organisations who are campaigning for a better and more just food system in Scotland. 

She is a food consumer researcher who explores the complex, dynamic relationships people have with food, how these shape everyday food practices, underpin contemporary food policy challenges and which are considered very resistant to change.

She complements her theoretical and conceptual contributions to food marketing and society with creative interdisciplinary collaborations and innovative mixed method research offering new insights into everyday food practices, especially those considered “less than ideal” and often practiced behind closed, domestic doors (i.e. eating food past its use-by date; throwing out edible food; under-cooking of meat; over-consumption of food).

More recently, her research also explores the concept of sustainable food in terms of production, procurement and consumption and she has recently been heavily involved in the EU H2020 funded project, Strength 2 Food. 


All welcome to attend, please RSVP to for catering purposes

Photo credit: reed_sandridge on Visual hunt /  CC BY-NC-SA