Smaller plates, less food waste: A choice architectural experiment in a self-service eating setting

Pelle Guldborg Hansen, Karsten Schmidt, Laurits Rhoden Skov, Andreas Maaløe Jespersen, Federico Jose Armando Pérez-Cueto, Bent Egebjerg Mikkelsen

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    With roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption lost or wasted globally (about 1.3 billion tons per year), the impact on the environment cannot be anymore neglected. Actions at all points in the production chain are now urgent, including reductions in food waste at home, by retailers and producers. Northern European consumers are among the most environmentally concerned consumers, however, their concerns do not always translate in more sustainable food-related behaviours. Furthermore, food choices are not always rational and could be non-reflective. Hence, the objective of this pilot study was to investigate whether the size of the dishware would non-reflectively influence the amount of foods taken from an “ad-libitum” buffet and the resulting amount of waste. Sample consisted of Danish business leaders that took part in a congress in Copenhagen, Denmark. Two buffet tables were set up on two separate floors; one with normal sized plates (usual sizes provided by the caterer, 27cm) that served as controls (N=75), and a table with smaller sized plates (24cm) that served as the intervention (N=145). Participants were allocated to each of the two floors, and informed that this was for logistic reasons. All food waste was collected in designated trash bags (different colour in each floor) and weighted in bulk by students. Smaller plates appear to have decreased food waste by 26% compared to the standard sized plates at a single serving in a self-service eating setting. This pilot study supports the hypothesis that dishware size plays an important role in the amount of food wasted among Danish adults in a self-service eating setting. This finding has PHN implications: slight changes in the foodscape can contribute to sustainable food consumption goals.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2013
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    Event20th International Congress of Nutrition - Granada Congress Centre, Granada, Spain
    Duration: 15 Sep 201320 Sep 2013
    http://www.icn2013.com/

    Conference

    Conference20th International Congress of Nutrition
    LocationGranada Congress Centre
    CountrySpain
    CityGranada
    Period15/09/201320/09/2013
    Internet address

    Bibliographical note

    Schmidt K et al, SMALLER PLATES, LESS FOOD WASTE – A CHOICE ARCHITECTURAL EXPERIMENT IN A SELFSERVICE EATING SETTING Ann Nutr Metab 63(suppl1) 1754-1754 (2013)

    Keywords

    • Nudging
    • buffet
    • sustainable consumption
    • environment
    • consumer behaviour

    Cite this

    Hansen, P. G., Schmidt, K., Skov, L. R., Jespersen, A. M., Pérez-Cueto, F. J. A., & Mikkelsen, B. E. (2013). Smaller plates, less food waste: A choice architectural experiment in a self-service eating setting. Abstract from 20th International Congress of Nutrition, Granada, Spain.