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Why not ask for a doggy bag?

You often hear complaints about the amount of food wasted in restaurants, in big kitchens and canteens. But we can all do something about it – as guests and as restaurateurs. Most of eat out fairly frequently – in restaurants, workplace canteens or food bought from a street food vendor, but did you know that almost half of the food prepared in restaurants, big kitchens and events with catering is thrown away? Per guest that’s around 23.6 kilograms of food a year. At least this was the result of a survey by the German Environmental Protection Agency (UBA) in 2014. Some of this is food that never even left the restaurant kitchen, the rest was served up but left on the plates or on the buffet table.

Smaller portions and free top-ups

You’re the guest, the consumer, and as such you can exert your influence. So why not ask for a smaller portion if you know you’re not very hungry. If you’re in your favourite restaurant, take advantage of the fact that they know you and suggest that they offer the option of smaller portions and a free top-up. So that what is not served to you can possibly be served to someone else.

Ask for a doggy bag!

It’s been the done thing in the USA for a long time and now it’s gaining traction in Europe as well – asking for a doggy bag. Take home what you can’t eat on the night. You’ll certainly enjoy it as a snack or starter next day. Don’t be embarrassed – after all you’ve paid for the food, it’s yours, why shouldn’t you take it home? And you’re doing something for the environment and to combat food waste.

What’s worth taking home with you?

Whatever you put in your doggy bag, the rule is that as soon as you get it home it should go into the fridge. And then be eaten as soon as possible. Half a pizza, for example, could be smothered in more grated cheese and tomato and crisped up in a pan or in the oven. It’s a good idea to heat everything very thoroughly to be sure that you’re not consuming lurking bacteria. This is especially important with meat. Don’t even think of taking home raw fish, like sushi, or dishes containing raw egg like tiramisu. They’re happy breeding grounds for bacteria like salmonella, so they need an unbroken cold chain and should not stand around or be transported in the warmth.

Source: Zu gut für die Tonne!