New research highlighting opportunities for the Hospitality and Food Service sector to reduce the amount of food left on customers plates, but still offer value for money for diners.

The research, conducted in July 2022, provides new insights into customer behaviours and attitudes to food waste when dining out.

Main findings

  • Almost half (48%) of those asked said plate waste in out of home eateries is due to portion size, with almost 15% of main course left uneaten. This is consistent with 2012 WRAP research where 41% of those asked cited large portions as a reason for leaving food when dining out.
  • UK citizens report an average of 5.2 sit-down meals outside the home in the past month, down from 5.6 times in March 2020 (immediately before lockdown). Almost half of those questioned (46%) said they were eating out less, with almost a third (32%) ordering fewer takeaways.
  • People are also adapting their behaviours when they do eat out, with 20% ordering fewer/cheaper drink options, 16% opting for less food/fewer dishes, and 14% choosing more cost-effective options from the menu. By contrast, close to one in three (32%) say their eating out habits have not changed in response to the current increase in the cost of living.
  • Around three in five people (63%) were concerned about wasting food when they are dining out, with the main worry being the waste of money.
  • Hospitality and Food Service venues can help customers make more informed choices when eating out by building awareness about portion size and providing information on the menu.  

New support for business

Through our Guardians of Grub campaign, WRAP has developed a new guide for hospitality and food service businesses. 'Protecting profits from plate waste' includes simple steps that any business can take to protect profits by reducing food waste. The new  toolkit guides businesses to measure food waste and identify plate waste ‘hot spots,’ how to reduce food waste and how to engage with teams and customers.

  • Measure. This is key to identifying the food most commonly wasted by customers.
  • Reduce. After monitoring and identifying where plate waste is coming from, business actions can be taken to reduce it, and to support customers to make choices to suit their tastes and appetites.
  • Engage. Listening more closely to what customers want is a key way of engaging with them. Almost three quarters of people  said that wasting money was their main concern around uneaten food, therefore businesses can frame their customer communications around value for money.
Find our new guide on the Guardians of Grub website

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  • Citizen food waste attitudes and behaviours out of home

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