You will have seen the amazing claim earlier in the week that half of the food we produce goes to waste.
I wonder what the definition of waste is; is it that which doesn’t get harvested, that which doesn’t get eaten by the sell by date and therefore thrown out or food on the plate that isn’t finished? All three, I guess.
But anyone who has watched Man Versus Food will know there is another, perhaps less easily quantifiable one of how much more we eat than we actually need to. Take fried chicken – I hear my (educated and intelligent) nephews assess the merits of one outlet over another by how much you can get for a couple of quid, not by how good they are.
I have this dilemma at Roast constantly. One of the reasons why our customers love us is because our portions are ‘generous’, by which they mean big. Now of course we source ethically and cook well but come for breakfast one day and you will see over half our diners ploughing their way through what we call The Full Borough.
We now have an even bigger one called The Full Scottish which also contains haggis and Lorne sausage. The first one coming out of the kitchen leads to many others wanting one.
So what’s worse – that a diner finishes it or that they can’t and bits get thrown away? One’s troublesome for the waist and one for waste.
The easy but wrong answer is for me to cut the portion. All that would happen would be that our customers think we’re doing it for profit reasons and they would end up dining elsewhere for bigger sized meals.
As an industry we will never do this unless directed to. How many restaurants were smoke-free until the ban was imposed? Our lungs are better off for the initiative. A new one needs to come in to save our waist and our waste.