Report of the Pyrmont Festival Pilot

This report documents the results of the Phase 1: Pilot of Food Stall Savers at the 2016 Pyrmont-Mudgee Food and Wine Festival, completed April — July 2016. (Read more about the whole project.)

ISF Report_Festival pilot

Download the report: Pyrmont Festival pilot report_FINAL


This pilot aimed to trial a process for engaging festival stallholders, organisers and other key stakeholders (consumers, waste contractors) in order to reduce avoidable food waste at festivals. Avoidable food waste at festivals occurs during stallholders preparation and serving of food, and secondly during consumption by festival visitors. Specifically, the pilot tested preliminary findings from the Background Research, piloted a communication and engagement process, and, surveyed stallholders for their knowledge, confidence and ease of participation, to ultimately inform the development of guidance resources.

The pilot was ultimately deemed successful by the festival organisers and considered of interest and easy by participating stallholders. However stallholders and organisers are typically time and resource poor, which created several challenges that would need to be overcome for future initiatives. This pilot has now informed the development of online guidance material to support both organisers and stallholders.

Recommendations for undertaking future food waste avoidance initiatives at Festivals include:

  • Recommendation 1: It is worth developing food waste avoidance initiatives at festivals, despite suggestions that stallholders don’t generate waste. However, ideally this should be undertaken in an integrated way as part of broader sustainability initiatives at a Festival, to maximise participation, momentum and ultimately impact.
  • Recommendation 2: Engage organisers as key entry point to develop initiative. Organisers in turn are responsible for engaging stallholders to advise and support them in developing and implementing stallholder action plans.
  • Recommendation 3: Online guidance material to support both stallholders and organisers can play an important role and is worth developing, but importantly the material supports rather than replaces the need for direct stallholder engagement.
  • Recommendation 4: Measuring a baseline of food waste generation by stallholders and consumers at Festivals is a useful way to: a) inform the design of the food waste avoidance strategy, b) estimate cost savings from reduce waste collection, c) evaluate the effectiveness of the initiative once implemented.
  • Recommendation 5: Engaging consumers before (e.g. via web and social media) and during the Festival (e.g via the info stall) is useful to both: a) promote the sustainability-related food waste avoidance initiative that will be taking place, including what stallholders are doing, and b) encouraging consumers to participate directly if there are front-of-house food waste bins, and indirectly by providing resources for households to reduce food waste generation.
  • Recommendation 6: Undertake a further pilot focused specifically on testing an approach to engaging organisers which enables them to take responsibility for engaging stallholders.

Pyrmont Findings