A campaign calling on restaurant operators to offer diners doggy-bags to take home left over food has been met with a mixed response from the industry.
Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has put his weight behind an article by food magazine Waitrose Food Illustrated](http://www.mediauk.com/magazines/141884/waitrose-food-illustrated) urging more people to take home unfinished food when eating out - even in high-end restaurants.
"I've been asking for doggy-bags for years and never been refused one - it's a shame to waste good food," Fearnley-Whittingstall said.
According to figures from the Government's environmental pressure group WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), 20 million tonnes of food are thrown away in Britain each year. This includes three million tonnes from restaurants.
Waitrose Food Illustrated editor William Sitwell argued both diners and restaurateurs need to support the concept of doggy-bags in order to waste less.
"The amount of waste restaurants generate is appalling, but diners need to get over their embarrassment, and restaurants need to encourage their waiters to offer it," he said.
However, restaurant consultant Roy Ackermann questioned the motives behind the campaign.
"Campaigns like this make great headlines and while anything that saves waste has got to be a good thing, I'm not sure that this is the best way of going about it," he said.
"It's been happening in the US for many years but I can't really see this becoming very popular here."
This was echoed by Michel Roux Jnr, chef-patron of the two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche in London, who told Caterer he couldn't see the trend take off in the UK.
"However, I do have an issue with there being something left on the plate in the first place. Good service should mean correct portion sizes and if something is left on the plate the maitre d' should ask the customer if there was something wrong with the meal."
By Kerstin KÁ¼hn
E-mail your comments to Kerstin KÁ¼hn here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next restaurant job here with Caterersearch.com jobs