A popular and historic mountain hotel in Norway claims it has saved around NOK 100,000 (USD 16,000) in food costs by simply introducing smaller plates at its meal buffets. Guests have since been more selective about what they put on their plates, and there’s been a major reduction in waste.
“Folks simply seemed to become more conscious about what they picked up to eat,” Sindre Mjelva, director of the venerable Hotel Union in Geiranger, which overlooks one of the most famous fjords in Norway.
Mjelva told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that the smaller plates were introduced two years ago as part of a pilot project and not only have dramatically cut the amount of food that gets thrown away but also saved money. The smaller plates have also been used at the hotel’s lavish Christmas buffets known as a julebord.
GreeNudge, a foundation set up to research climate measures, estimates that Nordic kitchens throw out more than 800,000 tons of food every year. Foundation leader Steffen Kallbekken told NRK he doesn’t think the hotel industry realizes how much it can contribute towards reducing the amount of food waste through such simple measures as smaller plates. With bigger plates, he said, guests are more likely to overestimate their appetites.