What are your thoughts about doggy bagging leftovers at restaurants?

The French Ministry of Agriculture set out to find the answer to this question among its citizens as part of its National Pact against Food Waste that was launched in June 2013. The results of a recent poll suggest that there is a real demand for the doggy bag in France and that its people are willing to adopt this amenity for the good of the environment.

Anti gaspiThis particular survey, conducted by the Regional Directorate for Agriculture of the Rhône-Alpes, polled over 2700 people in four diverse regions of France: Île-de-France, Rhône-Alpes, Franche-Comté and Languedoc-Roussillon. An overwhelming 90% of respondents agreed with the Ministry of Agriculture’s proposal to promote the use of to-go boxes and bags in restaurants in the country’s effort to reduce food waste. Interestingly enough, only 75% of survey participants responded that they were willing to use doggy bags. A whopping 70% admitted to never having asked to take their leftovers back home with them. The idea had never even occurred to 31% of those inquired. These numbers and responses clearly suggest that doggy bags are not considered part of French dining culture, but also that most people recognize the benefits of such a custom and are willing to embrace it to contribute to the fight against excessive waste. This survey tells us that over 50% of French people opt to dine out at least once a month, 59% of whom are unable to finish their ordered meal. It is clear to see how the effective implementation of take-away services in French restaurants could greatly reduce unnecessary food waste!

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

As a result, the French Ministry of Agriculture has included doggy bag promotion into their National Campaign against Food Waste, which hopes to cut such waste in half by 2025.

Another bigger, more comprehensive survey is currently underway in France that probes traditional restaurateurs and students of hospitality with the goal of gaining concrete insight into the implications of the doggy bag: Would offering this service reduce consumer image of food quality? Would garbage disposal costs decline? What are the ethical and environmental responsibilities of the provider and consumer? Be on the lookout for the results to this follow-up survey mid-October of this year!