More than half of diners say more choice and smaller portions could cut food waste, new research shows

4th June 2013
  • Pubs, hotels, restaurants and quick service restaurants could save around  £722 million a year by preventing food waste

More than half of us leave food uneaten because portion sizes are too big or we’ve ordered too much when eating out, new research shows from WRAP. Research launched today into consumer’s attitudes and behaviour around food waste when they eat out in pubs, hotels, restaurants and quick service restaurants provides important insight for businesses to help reduce food waste.

The research shows that the areas providing significant opportunity for the sector to save money and reduce waste are offering greater choices, different portion sizes and meeting customer expectations. Around 53% of respondents would like to see more choice and 44% stated large portions were actually off putting.  The most wasted food is often the side dishes of chips, vegetables and salad, so businesses can save money by asking whether these are actually wanted.

The research also highlighted that consumers do not want to have to worry about how much of their meal they leave, when they are dining out. They believe that is the responsibility of the establishment where they are eating.

It is estimated that pubs, hotels, restaurants and quick service restaurants could save an estimated £722 million a year by preventing food waste and increasing recycling.

To help support changes WRAP has produced an on-line resource pack for the hospitality and food service sector which gives a summary of the research and practical solutions. These include menus that offer a variety of portion choices and messages.

Industry is already taking action with over 150 companies signing up to WRAP’s Hospitality and Food Service Agreement (HaFSA) which launched in June 2012. It is a voluntary agreement to cut food and associated packaging waste by 5% and increase recycling to 70%.

More help is also available with the launch today of Unilever’s industry-first mobile app – ‘Wise up on Waste’ - to help chefs and caterers identify and reduce avoidable food waste.
WRAP’s research is been launched along with the app at Unilever Food Solutions industry event, ‘United Against Waste’. The Sustainable Restaurant Association will also be attending, along with other leading operators, to explain the cost of waste and why it’s important to both consumers and the industry.

Richard Swannell, Director at WRAP responsible for tackling food waste said: “By highlighting consumer attitudes there is an opportunity for industry to create practical solutions to the problem. WRAP is working with industry to tackle food waste through the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, the on-line resource pack and a recently established industry working group to look at menu planning and portioning.”

To find out more about how your business could benefit from been part of the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement visit Signatories and supporters to the agreement can now also access a new communication guide produced by Love Food Hate Waste.


Notes to editors:
1. *All figures used within this press release are from a UK- only survey. For Scottish and Welsh specific figures please visit
2. WRAP’s vision is a world without waste, where resources are used sustainably. It works in partnership to help businesses, individuals and communities improve resource efficiency.
3. Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Northern Ireland, Zero Waste Scotland , and Wales
4. To download the ‘Out of Home Research’ report please visit
5. For more information on the Hospitality and Food Service agreement visit
6. More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on