SRA’s campaign on track

Forget the iPhone 4, ‘doggie boxes’ are the most popular innovation if you’re in foodservice.

The specially-designed boxes are part of the ‘Too good to waste campaign’ (http://www.toogood-towaste.co.uk/), which is helping restaurants cut waste by allowing customers to take leftovers home with them.

According to the Sustainable Restaurant Association  (SRA), all 25,000 of the boxes have now been sent out to the 100 participating restaurants. Those involved include the likes of Michelin-starred The Quilon, groups like Wahaca, Leon and Feng Sushi as well as independents including The Cinnamon Club and Oxo Tower.

“We’ve also received a number of enquiries from restaurants outside London – there is widespread interest,” said an SRA spokesman.

The campaign was launched at an event jointly moderated by Foodservice Footprint, after research carried out by the SRA revealed that the average London restaurant wastes 21 tonnes of food every year. This works out to almost half a kilo per diner. What’s more, a third of all restaurant food waste is plate waste.

But while nine out of 10 consumers say they want restaurants to do more to address the problem, most are either too embarrassed to ask for a doggie box or would never think to ask.

The SRA estimates that wasted food purchases, food waste collection and labour can cost a restaurant up to £20,000 a year, but implementing a few simple measures can cut that by 20%, saving £2-4,000 in the process.

The SRA has also been working with Unilever Food Solutions to help caterers cut waste with a new toolkit. Wise up on Waste was launched last month and includes a manual waste audit to help businesses monitor and cut waste.

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