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Eateries think small to fight food waste

Updated: 2013-01-26 03:47
By Cheng Yingqi ( China Daily)

Nearly 750 restaurants in Beijing have joined a campaign against wasting food by offering smaller dishes.

The restaurants are also encouraging diners to take their leftovers home.

Eateries think small to fight food waste

Staff members hold plates, encouraging diners to finish their meals, at the entrance to the Qingdao Seaview Garden Hotel in Shandong province on Thursday. [Photo/Xinhua]

"We have tried to stop the wasting of food since 2006," said Lin Suqin, the manager of the capital's Hongbinlou restaurant.

"For example, if customers want to order a large portion of a dish when there are fewer than six people at the table, the waiter must ask the foreman to check the customers' real needs before they order, to avoid waste."

The restaurant now offers dishes half the size of those served normally.

Eateries think small to fight food waste
To enhance public awareness of food waste, the restaurant chain run by the Beijing Meizhou Hotel Management has placed posters on walls to remind customers to take away their leftovers, and it offers environmentally friendly containers for the food to be packed in.

The campaign comes after legal and agricultural experts said that wasting food should be a crime.

"I am proposing that the government makes regulations and policies to encourage people to despise the wasting of food, and to treat it like a crime", said Yuan Longping, an agricultural scientist.

According to research by China Agricultural University, 8 million metric tons of food protein and 3 million tons of fat were wasted in China in 2007 and 2008 — meaning the food wasted each year can feed nearly 200 million people.

Meanwhile, supply and demand in China's grain market has become tighter in the past decade, under pressure from an increasing population, according to CBN Daily in Shanghai.

Yang Lin, an employee at a State-owned enterprise in Beijing, said, "Wasting food is a bad habit, and my friends and I are definitely against it. Sometimes the waste is a bit severe because we have to drink wine and socialize with leaders, and we actually don't have much time to eat."

Xiao Chao, an employee at a foreign-funded enterprise, believes food waste is rooted in Chinese culture.

"It has something to do with our eating traditions and culture. Westerners eat from individual plates, so people can choose the appropriate amount of food.

"The Chinese, by contrast, share dishes. So it is difficult to order the right amount of food for all the people," he said.

"Besides, the Chinese regard it as polite to treat friends to a sumptuous feast, which will inevitably result in food waste."

Ji Yerong contributed to this story.

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