Toward Cleaner Plates: A Study of Plate Waste in Food Service

Collaborating with NRDC to understand causes of edible plate waste in food service environments and seek solutions

Until now, little research has been done to understand why people dining out leave food on their plates. It’s a problem that the environmental nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates to account for 20 percent of all food wasted in the U.S. To better understand the causes of edible plate waste in university dining and corporate café environments, Bon Appétit Management Company, in collaboration with NRDC, conducted a study whose findings were released in the whitepaper “Toward Cleaner Plates: A Study of Plate Waste in Food Service.” (Download report)

The study tracked how much plate waste was generated at 20 Bon Appétit cafés across the country over a variety of meal periods. The locations were evenly divided between cafés located at business and industry locations and institutions of higher education and covered a total of 40 meal periods surveyed between May 2018 and March 2019. During the study period, plate scrapings were obtained from more than 12,000 individuals, 1,572 of whom completed a written survey.

For some of the key findings of the report, read the press release.


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