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Dishing out solutions

26 May, 2023

An estimated 8-10% of global carbon emissions arise from food waste. What if there was an easy way to help people waste less when eating in hotel buffets or workplace canteens? Enter this guide by the Behavioural Insights Team. And while food waste in your workplace canteen may not be your biggest environmental headache, there are some clear and easy wins you can implement that can start bigger conversations.

The guide reports on three simple and (low cost!) nudges that can be implemented in tandem or separately, which resulted in significant reductions in food waste in the settings where they were trialled.  First was messaging, by helping diners think about the problem posed by food waste by strategically placing posters or leaflets. Second was advocating for smaller portions. Is someone really going to eat the four sausage rolls and three mini croissants they picked up at the buffet? Encourage diners to start small by showing “demonstration plates” that model ideal portion sizes, and let them know they can go back for seconds. This will help them carefully consider what they put in their plate. And third was feedback: using transparent bins that showcase just how much food has been wasted already makes the problem more visible and so all the more tangible.

We love this guide because it is a ready to go how to manual. Any organisation can pick it up and get started with their programme and every step is outlined – from securing management buy in to measuring its impact, even down to sample emails, surveys, and posters you can adapt.

At Good Business, we know first-hand the power of an effective behaviour change campaign; we see it all the time through our work on SKY with the Gates Foundation. We also understand how powerful such focused campaigns can be for supporting an organisation’s efforts to reduce their carbon impact in other areas, and have witnessed the impact that these visible, tangible, relevant campaigns can have on the broader conversations around carbon and the environment in the workplace. So we’d encourage you to pick up the guide, read it, and take it to your catering team. No time (or food) to waste!

By Marie Guerinet

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