Monday, March 19, 2012

Would you ask for a doggy box when out for dinner?-The Too Good to Waste initiative

The Too good to wastecampaign launched in October 2011, is an initiative carried out by The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), a not-for-profit organisation which aims to reduce food waste in London Restaurants by raising both consumers and industry awareness about the huge scale of restaurants’ food waste in London.

In the United Kingdom, the problem with food waste has been identified since the World War I when the food started to become scarce. Since then, campaigns to increase understanding began and people’s awareness towards the amount of food wasted voluntarily increased. During the World War II, regulations to rationalise food was implemented by the British government due to the decline of importations; the wasting of food became a prisonable offence.

Nowadays, the issue has been at the top of the social and political agenda due to the raising levels of waste which is believed to be up to nearly 25% or 10bn of consumable food per year just in the UK. The media coverage has been increasing the level of awareness and attention from the UK public, as well as the responses from government (which declared war on food waste in 2008) in order to fight against this environmental and economic issue that is costing the average household in Britain around £8 per week’.

The TGTW campaign is facing a real challenge in changing people’s attitudes towards asking for a doggy box, therefore they should be first focusing on making people aware about the huge amount of food thrown away in London restaurants and widely inform all consumers about the TGTW initiative by spreading high-impact facts as the messages of the campaign rather than just promoting the doggy box. An example of how to this could be done are the strategies taken by Love Food Hate Waste campaign which presented the evidence of their research as their messages for the campaign, on their website, speeches, reports and so on.

In terms of changing possible prejudices their key publics might have regarding the doggy box, they could potentially think of different approaches to improve results. These could include changing the name and style of the box and perhaps committing participating restaurants to train their staff, so waiters and waitresses are those offering to pack the food for their dinners instead of them asking for the box. Additionally, they could be relying on the power of Social Media to create a greater awareness about this critical problem and get supporters.


  1. I was not aware of the extent of the food wastage, particularly in London! I would always want to ask for a doogy bag in the past, however if there's a small amount on your plate, it hardly seems like anything - apart from the next days dinner.
    In order to avoid the number increasing, I agree that more effective changes should be made. It is an idea which could be made fun and creative. Like you mention; social media could be a massive tool to promote the issue, as well as possibly asking the public what they would find approachable and most effective to grab their attention. I think visuals would allow engagement; getting the public to send in designs of how their box would look.

  2. I agree Lauren, they could certainly be using other tactics to create public consciousness and get this campaign to work more effectively!
    When it comes to asking for a doggy box people are still feeling embarrased and that's the main challenge facing this campaign. I am sure that a good thought through PR campaign could definitely manage to change attitudes towards this issue.

  3. I must say, like Lauren, I have not been hesitant in asking for a doggy bag in the past (after all I have paid for it!). However, I still find myself contributing to the amount of food wastage. Whilst I have every intention of getting my leftovers home and digging in the next day, I just get it home.
    I agree that there is a need to focus on making people more aware of the huge amount of food thrown away in London restaurants, and the best way to do so, is by spreading high-impact facts. Looking at it from a different angle, it would be great to see the campaign dress up the concept a little. One idea could be experimenting with different ways of preparing the left overs in order to create an entirely different menu. Secondly, as a student, something that personally puts me off reheating leftovers is that I’m unsure of how long it should be in the oven and at what temperature? It would be beneficial for restaurants to get on board and simply feature reheating instructions on the side of the box.