Restaurants waste almost five times more food than the average UK household, according to the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).
Although hundreds of restaurants have taken steps to reduce food waste, the SRA has warned that an industry average of almost half a kilo per diner is unacceptable.
Research from the organisation shows that the average restaurant produces 21 tonnes of food waste a year, which works out as 0.48kg per diner per meal. According to WRAP, the he Waste & Resources Action Programme, UK households produce 7.2m tonnes a year, which breaks down as 0.1kg per meal.
Mark Linehan, managing director of the SRA, said: "Many restaurants are taking this issue seriously, embracing good kitchen practices, offering smaller portions and encouraging diners to take home leftovers. But wasting half a kilo per diner is unacceptable for business, the environment and customers. The industry as a whole must do more."
Linehan added: "Diners and restaurants need to work together and start equating value with quality rather than quantity. Restaurants should also make diners feel more comfortable about asking, and diners should feel free to ask to take home leftovers from a meal for which they have paid."
The SRA is working with Unilever Food Solutions to find the restaurant with the best food waste strategy. The winner will be named at the Sustainable Restaurant Awards on 4 February. The ‘Best Food Waste Strategy' category is the first award to be open to non-SRA members. It recognises and rewards businesses' innovative sustainability systems that make a positive difference to the environment.
To enter the award, operators should contact Ed Franklin at the SRA, on firstname.lastname@example.org, by Monday 28 January.
By Kerstin Kühn
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