Size matter! A field experiment in reducing food waste

 The following is from: P.G. Hansen, A.M. Jespersen & L.R. Skov “Size matter! A choice architectural field experiment in reducing food waste” Journal of Food and Hospitality Research vol. 4 (2015).


We examined how a reduction in plate size would affect the amount of food waste from leftovers in a field experiment at a standing lunch for 220 CEOs.


A standing lunch for 220 CEOs in the Danish Opera House was arranged to feature two identical buffets with plates of two different sizes. One buffet featured standard sized plates that served as control (standard size as provided by the caterer, 27cm). A second buffet featured smaller sized plates (24cm) that served as the intervention. After the lunch concluded (30 minutes), all leftover food was collected in designated trash bags according to size of plates and weighed in bulk.
Those eating from smaller plates (n=145) left significantly less food to waste (aver. 14,8g) than participants eating from standard plates (n=75) (aver. 20g) amounting to a reduction of 25,8%.
Our field experiment tests the hypothesis that a decrease in the size of food plates may lead to significant reductions in food waste from buffets. It supports and extends the set of circumstances in which a recent experiment found that reduced dinner plates in a hotel chain lead to reduced quantities of leftovers.

Primary Institution – Roskilde University

Secondary Institutions – Initiative for Science, Society & Policy & Aalborg University

Size matter! A field experiment in reducing food waste


There has been given acces to a full paper about this nudge, for the members of TEN to read. Here you can find all relevant information on the nudge.

The paper
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