Scottish Government
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Good to Go

Doggy bag pilot to be extended.

A hugely successful pilot scheme to offer diners doggy bags is set to be extended across Scotland, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced.

The 16 restaurants participating in Zero Waste Scotland’s Good to Go trial saw dramatic reductions in food waste from customers’ plates - an average of 42 per cent per restaurant. And 92 per cent of diners surveyed who took food home ate it.

If restaurants across Scotland routinely offered doggy bags to customers, it could save the equivalent of 800,000 full meals going in the bin every year. Eateries across the country are now being urged to sign up for Good to Go.

On a visit to the Edinburgh Larder Bistro, which participated in the pilot, Mr Lochhead said:

“Scotland produces some of the best food and drink to be found anywhere in the world, and it is a crying shame that one in six meals served in restaurants is currently being thrown away – a waste of food and a waste of money.

“Doggy bags are a great way to prevent waste and give diners better value for money, and I am absolutely delighted that ‘Good to Go’ is now being rolled out across the country after the success of the pilot scheme. As we work towards achieving our zero waste ambitions and Scotland becoming a Good Food Nation, I encourage as many catering and food businesses as possible to sign up.”

Ylva Haglund from Zero Waste Scotland said:

“I’m delighted that the scheme has been so successful. Our research showed that three-quarters of people wanted to see doggy bags offered in restaurants but half were too embarrassed to ask for them, and the fact that so many people during the pilot with leftover food used the Good to Go boxes shows that if you make it a normal thing to do, people will take food home. That’s why we’re now promoting this scheme across Scotland.

“We’re seeing great strides in food waste prevention through the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, and in household food waste recycling through council collections, so it’s great to see this issue being tackled in restaurants as well and engaging with people when eating out.”

Eleanor Cunningham from the Edinburgh Larder Bistro said:

“As well as helping us to reduce the amount of food being thrown away, we’ve also had a great response from our customers to the ‘Good to Go’ trial, who were keen to take home what they couldn’t eat for later. It’s therefore great to see the scheme being offered across Scotland, and I would encourage other restaurants to sign up.

“Our business is based on a sustainable ethos and this campaign helped us to communicate that message and increase dialogue about food waste with our customers.”

Notes To Editors

The ‘Good to Go’ pilot scheme ran in 16 restaurants in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Irvine and East Kilbride which offered doggy bags and promoted them on posters and table top adverts, as well as through restaurant staff talking to diners.

Customers at participating restaurants were offered re-sealable take-home containers featuring the ‘Good to Go’ brand to provide an attractive, visible and convenient way to ensure they were able to enjoy all of the meal that they had paid for, even if they couldn’t manage it all in one sitting. These are boxes made from sustainable board with a natural starch lining – making the box fully compostable.

The pilot results showed:

  • More than 1,400 containers were given out over the eight week trial
  • Food waste from diners’ plates fell by an average of 42 per cent per participating restaurant. Around half this reduction was due to diners taking food home, with further reductions achieved from other measures such as adjusting portion sizes, changed menu options, and checking if diners actually wanted sides such as chips or vegetables.
  • 92 per cent of diners surveyed who took food home ate it.
  • Staff from all of the participating restaurants reported excellent feedback from customers about the pilot.

According to previous Zero Waste Scotland research, around 50 per cent of people said they were too embarrassed to ask for a doggy bag.

The extended scheme will provide the opportunity for any restaurant or cafe in Scotland to receive a starter pack of Good to Go boxes, guidance and promotional materials, and those interested in getting involved should contact goodtogo@zerowastescotland.org.uk to sign up to the scheme, which is due to begin next spring. To get the ball rolling, the first fifty restaurants to come forward will receive starter packs free of charge. After this, restaurants will be able to buy materials. Diners are being encouraged to ask their favourite restaurants about signing up to the scheme.

In Scotland we throw away over £1 billion of avoidable household food and drink waste. That works out at £470 per household a year, which most people could probably think of a better way to spend. The Love Food Hate Waste website is packed with practical hints, tips and recipe ideas for reducing food waste.

Zero Waste Scotland delivers the Love Food Hate Waste campaign in Scotland which aims to reduce this waste by raising awareness of the environmental and economic impact of food waste. To help householders, the campaign provides practical advice to reduce food waste and save money, focusing on the most commonly wasted food groups including; bakery, dairy, fresh fruit, meat and fish, and fresh vegetables and salad.

www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

Contacts

Scottish Government - Catherine Brown : 0131 244 2560 / 07825 106156

Zero Waste Scotland - Chloe Bellany : 01786 239764 / 07540 517127

 

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