Stop food waste: MED-3R project encourages use of doggy bags in restaurants

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, one third of food produced in the world for human consumption is wasted. Losses and wastage occur throughout the whole food chain - from production, processing, retailing down to consumption. With the largest portion of waste taking place at final stage of the food supply chain (consumption at household, restaurants and food service establishments level), MED-3R project has carried out a pilot action targeting over 70 restaurants in the city of Nice (France). Here are the results of this campaign.

Food waste: environmental, economic and social consequences 

About 90 million tons of food is wasted annually in Europe (source: European Commission) while figures in the Mediterranean area show a similar trend. Numerous studies reveal that food waste has tough consequences on climate, water, land use and biodiversity mainly related to intensive agricultural activities and CO2 emissions. Besides economic losses for producers and costs for its collection and disposal, food waste raises a moral issue: how to allow that one third of food produced go to waste, when 870 million people go hungry every day?

A campaign to convert restaurants and clients to the doggy bag culture

With a view to reducing food waste in the catering sector, MED-3R project has carried out a campaign aiming to push the use of doggy bags in over 70 restaurants located in the city of Nice (France). The excessive size of food portions served and the difficulty in planning purchases are often described as the main causes of waste generated by restaurants. Moreover, unlike in the United States, customers are seldom encouraged to take home the leftovers from their own meals.

Even though "old habits die hard", a total of 2.500 doggy bags, wine and carrying bags were distributed over the past months by MED-3R project leading to positive results as long as restaurants owners and customers attitude towards food leftovers is concerned. 

"If doggy bags are proposed, I will accept them"

The campaign against food waste implemented by MED-3R project seems to have left both restaurants owners and clients happy. A survey highlights that 95% of restaurants do not consider the use of doggy bag as a waste of time. A significant portion of targeted restaurants are willing to propose doggy bags to their customers as this is deemed to give a positive image to their business besides clear environmental benefits. On their side, clients have appreciated the opportunity to enjoy leftover food back home since they were usually embarrassed to ask for a doggy bag.

A last equation should be solved so as to encourage the use of doggy bag in the Mediterranean area: will the English name "doggy bag" remains or will it be replaced by a word in French? 

Video feature by Chamber of Commerce of Nice

Video feature by Nice TV  

24.07.2014