Doggy bags gaining popularity; 77 million meals still thrown out

Doggy bag (Picture: Twitter/@Rootje71)Doggy bag (Picture: Twitter/@Rootje71)

Doggy-bags are slowly gaining popularity in the Netherlands, with nearly 1 and 5 Dutch people having asked for a doggy-bag more often over this past year. Half of the Dutch population also became more aware about the amount of food that they throw away. Yet restaurants still through away about 51 thousand tons of food - roughly equal to 77 million hot meals.

This is according to a study done by environmental organization Natuur & Milieu and Depa, in cooperation with PanelWizard.

The study found that although an increasing number of Dutch people remember to ask for a doggy bag, there is still a taboo on the matter. 47 percent of the people questioned find it embarrassing to leave a restaurant with a doggy bag, compared to 52 percent last year. Almost three quarters indicated that they never take food home from a restaurant and more than a third said it is embarrassing to walk around with a recognizable doggy bag.

"Still there is a taboo. A false shame, although the figures show that this is decreasing", said Olof van der Graag, director of campaigns for Natuur & Milieu. He finds the taboo strange, since the doggy bag should fit perfectly in Dutch culture - 68 percent of Dutch people were raised to always finish their food and 82 percent hate to waste food.

77 percent of respondents think that restaurants should do more about food waste and 63 percent think that restaurants should always offer a doggy bag if there is food left on the plate. 69 percent indicated that restaurants should standard offer a choice between a large and a small portion.

On Wednesday Natuur & Milieu launched a new doggy bag campaign in which they give 50 thousand free doggy bags to restaurants in another effort to combat food waste in the hospitality industry.