The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) is launching a new campaign calling on London restaurateurs to offer diners doggy bags to take home left over food.
The SRA's Too Good To Waste campaign, which will launch in October, aims to "de-stigmatise" the concept of the doggy bag, which is widespread in the USA, while at the same time raise awareness about the large amount of food wasted in restaurants.
London restaurants produce around 250,000 tonnes of food waste each year, of which an estimated 30% is avoidable plate waste. The SRA aims to achieve a 20% reduction, which could save operators up to £4,000 a year.
Moreover, according to research carried out by the SRA, half of consumers are either too embarrassed to ask for doggy bags in restaurants or think that establishments aren't allowed to let diners take home food. Fewer than one in 10 said they would choose not to take leftovers with them if a restaurant offered a container.
As part of the campaign, the SRA will produce 25,000 biodegradable doggy boxes, which will be handed out to participating restaurants. The boxes will feature quotes from celebrity supporters of the campaign and will be available for sponsorship. Other supporting material will include campaign stickers and table cards for restaurants as well as a fact sheet on how to store and reheat food for diners.
The SRA has already signed up a number of restaurants as well as high profile supporters for the Too Good To Waste campaign, which will launch in conjunction with the London Restaurant Festival on 3 October.
In 2009 celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's campaign for doggy bags was met with a mixed response from the restaurant industry.
By Kerstin Kühn
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