Are your eyes bigger than your belly?

I think we all suffer from our eyes being bigger than our belly occasionally but we don’t always realise the consequences it can have – on the planet and our health.

I was in a restaurant in New York recently and saw plates on tables all around us left unfinished. I have seen the same thing in Australia, the Caribbean, the UK, and all over on my travels. The huge portion sizes of food and how much gets thrown away continues to bewilder me.  

The statistics around food waste are just staggering - a United Nations report estimated around one third of the food produced globally gets wasted every year. 

The food we waste is also responsible for roughly eight per cent of global emissions, according to Project Drawdown. 

It is a project I was really excited to learn about as it is the first worldwide ranking of solutions to combatting and reversing global warming. It is great to see what is pragmatic and possible for the future.

I’d love to see businesses working to be more efficient when it comes to food waste. Restaurants could serve half the portion sizes they currently do but have a clear sign on the tables saying if people are still hungry they can have a second helping – when we do this in our properties we find less than 10 per cent of people ask for more.

Jamie Oliver has also produced a great guide on how big our portions of each food group should be (a tennis ball of pasta – who knew!) 

Getting portion sizes right also has the added benefit of helping our waistlines. But what we are eating is also important along with how much.

I have given up beef and was happily surprised by how easy I found it. At Virgin Management we have introduced meat-free Mondays into our menu in the drive to encourage exploring alternatives. 

Consumers often feel powerless to change the status quo – but every time you buy a product it is a vote for the system that created it and business is driven by demand.

Our attitude towards food needs a healthy discussion – how do you think we can cut down on food waste?


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