New research from Just Eat and Hubbub has revealed that chips are amongst the most wasted food from takeaways. In a challenge run by the two organisations, 72% of participants admitted they had leftover chips after eating their takeaway meals, largely due to the portion sizes being too big.

In response, Just Eat is aiming to chip away at food waste by launching a trial with a group of restaurant partners giving customers the option of a smaller chip portion size. From March, customers buying from a select number of Just Eat restaurants will be able to choose between a standard and ‘waste less’ portion.

The takeaway food deliveries market has grown massively, especially during Covid, reaching a value of £11.4bn in 2021, double what it was in 2015. Previous research from Just Eat, carried out with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, found that in the UK £1.8bn worth of takeaway food is thrown away annually of which household waste accounts for £1.4bn.

The new partnership between Just Eat and Hubbub created a ‘Food Waste Race’ seeking to understand what is driving this level of waste. The ‘Food Waste Race’ consisted of a 4-week insight phase with 91 customers followed by a behaviour change trial. During the insight phase participants completed food diaries which revealed that:

  • 16% of each takeaway meal is wasted.
  • 53% said that large portion sizes were the main cause of food being leftover.
  • Chips followed by rice, pizza, meat and curry were the most wasted foods.

These findings allowed Hubbub to help households save money and cut waste. Support and inspiration included tips and hacks, TikTok style foodie films, and challenges that put fun and flavour in the spotlight inspiring people to see their leftover in a new light with the confidence to eat them safely.

Twelve weeks after this guidance, households were asked which new habits they had retained. There were positive results showing that food waste was reduced and how this had led to other more sustainable lifestyle choices. Specifically:

  • 92% were wasting less takeaway food and overall there was a 63% reduction in takeaway food wasted.
  • 82% were wasting less food from groceries.
  • 71% were making better choices for the environment in other areas of their lives, for example walking more and using the car less.

Two of the participants explained the changes that they had made:

“Before getting involved in the Food Waste Race leftover takeaway food was ending up in the bin. We didn’t know how to reheat it. Top offenders were chips, bread and anything that came in big portions.” - Ambi Kumar, Birmingham

“Be mindful and you can create something delicious with your leftovers and what’s in your fridge.” - Matt Beavan, London

Hubbub has delivered a growing range of customer campaigns, increasing our understanding that long-term change at scale can only be achieved if companies make it as easy as possible for people to do the right thing for the environment.

Given this, we are delighted that Just Eat has used results from the ‘Food Waste Race’ to implement three big changes to the way they operate. These are:

1) Food waste busting inspiration

Each customer will see a pop-up banner when ordering on the app that will link to food-saving tips and inspiration. These aim to excite customers about the idea of eating their leftovers and give them confidence that they can do it safely.

2) Savvy portion size trial 

With 15 restaurants providing customers with the option of a ‘savvy’ chip portion size. If successful Just Eat will roll this out to other restaurants.

3) Clearer portion sizes 

Support to restaurants to provide clearer guidance on portion sizes so that customers know what they will receive and be able to waste less

The ‘Food Waste Race’ has created a new avenue for discussing food waste with households. Results indicate that ‘Takeaway Time’ is a good opportunity to inspire people to think about reducing food waste and consider other things they can do that are good for their pockets and the planet.

The trial also indicated the positive role that companies like Just Eat and their restaurant partners can play in providing trusted, positive, and expert-led sources of information encouraging people to reduce waste.

To discover more, the full impact report is available below (for your fries only). 

READ THE JUST EAT IMPACT REPORT

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