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Irish restaurants lose €125m per year by throwing away food: survey

One-in-two people admit to regularly over ordering and leaving food behind, according to new research.

IRISH RESTAURANTS LOSE €125 million a year by throwing away thousands of tonnes of food according to new research.

Irish diners have been found to be the most responsible for the waste with nearly half of people (48 per cent) admitting to ordering too much food and leaving it behind according to research by Unilever Food Solutions.

In Ireland, 506 people who eat out regularly were surveyed online whilst research was also carried out among 100 chefs and operators in the Restaurants’ Association of Ireland.

In total, the research estimates that 63,670 tonnes of food or the equivalent of nearly 8,000 eight-tonne double decker buses, is thrown away by restaurants.

Of this, 53 per cent is generated by restaurant kitchens during preparation, but Irish diners are responsible for most of the food wasted out-of-home – 65 per cent.

The research also reveals over a quarter of the Irish population are eating out once a week, with one in four (25 per cent) eating out two to three times a month.

The research found that 31 per cent of Irish people believe that big plates of food represents good value even if a lot of the food on the plate will go to waste.

More women than men are likely to leave food behind with 56 per cent of women regularly leaving food behind compared to 35 per cent of men.

More food is wasted out-of-home in Galway and the Connacht region than other provinces with 59 per cent of people in the region regularly leaving food behind compared with 49 per cent of people in Dublin, 45 per cent in Cork and Munster and 36 per cent in Ulster.

The findings also discovered the top five reasons Irish people leave food behind on their plate:

  • 34 per cent said that the portion was too big
  • 27 per cent said they were unsatisfied by the food
  • 14 per cent said they ordered a meal deal but didn’t want all the courses on offer
  • 12 per cent said they weren’t hungry
  • 10 per cent said they ordered too much

The research was carred out as part of Unilever Food Solutions’ second World Menu Report which also surveyed people in the US, UK, China, Germany, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, and Poland.

One of the main findings of the global survey was that eight out of ten people were concerned by the amount of food wasted and how dining establishments were disposing of it.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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