Food wastage charge not the enemy
Let’s not cut corners here. We have all wasted food. I know I have, and there have been instances where I have felt horribly guilty knowing that there are millions of people globally who would be grateful for every bite available.
Restaurants that offer an abundance of choices often deal with huge amounts of wasted food, particularly from buffets. But how many would actually put their foot down and do something about this problem? Not very many I think.
Kylin Buffet in South Shields however have taken a stand against this and have implemented a policy where they charge customers £20 if food is left wasting on their plate.
Beverly Clark experienced this on her visit to the restaurant with her son, 10, and her niece aged six, when she was charged the wastage fee after leaving some of their starters. They were told by a waiter that they would have to pay the additional fee if they did not finish their starters and of course, she was outraged.
Clark said: “I was furious and said we were already paying £18 for three meals, but the staff kept checking if we had eaten the food. In the end I wrapped it up in a serviette, and put it into my bag when they weren’t looking, so it looked like we had eaten it.”
She got £3 off her bill after complaining to the management. The matter was resolved with them leaving and skipping on the main course.
What amuses me is the way she was fuming about paying £18 for three meals, which considering today’s economic climate is quite good. Of course everyone is feeling the strain but what makes you think that restaurants aren’t? Food wastage is a huge problem with an annual value of £23 billion and while most of us will sit there and think ‘that has nothing to do with me’, it actually does.
Wasted food leads to inflated prices in the developing world and reduces overall supply, while increasing food prices. This then has a knock-on effect on people in under-developed countries. So essentially, wasting plate after plate of food in restaurants or even at home, results in prices being bumped up and charges being implemented like the one at Kylin Buffet. Tell me now that we are not guilty of this.
I actually commend the restaurant for sticking with their policy and not bowing to pressure. Clark may think their customer service was appalling but if they were to make an exception here and there, then what would be the point in the charge at all?
Those that think this is another way to be ripped off need to think of the bigger picture. I know that i would always be forking out a fee for food wastage having been described as a “picker” but why create a mini-Mount Everest on your plate if you know that you’re not going to be able physically manage to eat everything?
In a way, a food wastage fee makes you re-evaluate the way you look at food and may even aid you in cutting back on portion size, which is a huge problem where obesity is concerned.
The issue of food wastage isn’t one that restaurants should be tackling – it’s something that we all should be directing our efforts to.
At home there are an abundance of things we can do to prevent throwing away bags of food as highlighted by the “Love Food Hate Waste” website.
Things like freezing food in an airtight container and marking the date for later use is a key way to saving meals. Making sure your fridge is set at the right temperature can go a long way in preventing food waste. Fridges should be set below five degrees celsius, which will keep provisions fresher for longer.
Making shopping lists so you buy what you need instead of engaging in excessive shopping that is unlikely to be consumed before their best before date may help, and once again the solution of portioning food comes into play here. Have tools ready like scales, measuring jugs and freezer bags, which will help with controlling portion sizes and making sure you store food in the correct places, making them last longer.
18 million tonnes of edible food end up in landfill every year, which we all contribute to. So if you find yourself eating at a restaurant that makes it clear they have a wastage charge, take into consideration the bigger picture and eat with your stomach, not your eyes.