Waste not Want not
by Steve Humber
Waste has always been an issue in the food industry, according to research by the charity WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), the amount of food wasted annually in UK Pubs and Restaurants is the equivalent to throwing away one in every six meals of the eight billion sold every year.
There have been some recent moves to change this culture and influence customer behaviour around left over food, with some venues offering the choice of portion sizes to suit your appetite and the ‘Too Good To Waste’ campaign encourages restaurants to offer doggy bags as standard so customers can take their leftover food home without any embarrassment.
Last year the Scottish Government piloted a scheme offering free doggy bags to restaurants across Scotland in a bid to reduce food waste. Nine out of ten restaurants that tried offering customers doggy bags in Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Kilbride and Irvine reported up to a 40% reduction in food waste. Research carried out prior to the launch showed that two fifths of people hadn’t previously taken food home from a restaurant because they were too embarrassed to ask.
There are restaurants out there pioneering the zero waste ethic; Brighton restaurant Silo are ‘no waste’ champions proving it is capable to run a restaurant with no bins. By dealing directly with farmers, using re-usable delivery vessels and choosing local ingredients that themselves generate no waste and finally the compost machine inside Silo, turns any scraps directly into compost used to produce more food. Wahaca encourages diners to take a doggy bag home with them and offer reheating instructions for the diners to best enjoy their leftovers. So next time your eyes are bigger than your belly don’t be afraid to ask if you can take it home.