Application of marketing to reduce consumer food waste in restaurants

Daisy Lee, Calvin Wan, Tiffany Cheng Han Leung*, Sharyn Rundle-Thiele, Gabriel Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper aims to illustrate the application and effectiveness of a marketing programme co-designed by supply- and demand-side stakeholders to reduce consumer food waste in restaurants.

This stakeholder-based marketing pilot study adopted the co-create, build and engage framework for programme design and implementation. Major stakeholders, interacting at the point-of-sale, participated in a series of focus groups, interviews and co-design. The research process informed the marketing mix, which aimed to provide value for all parties. The four-week pilot programme was delivered in a non-buffet-style commercial restaurant chain for 10 months. The amount of consumer food leftovers was measured and compared with pre-programme baseline data to evaluate programme effectiveness.

The results show that the marketing mix co-designed by restaurant stakeholders and consumers effectively reduced food waste by almost half in the pilot period. The profitability of the pilot restaurant increased as food costs decreased.

Research limitations/implications
This research demonstrates how working with stakeholders from both the supply and demand sides can identify motivations and barriers. Insights gained in the research phase can inform the delivery of a marketing mix that reduces consumer food waste. This study demonstrates the marketing research, design, implementation and evaluation process for a marketing programme that reduced consumer food waste.

Practical implications
To effectively reduce consumer food waste, practitioners should not only focus on changing consumers’ behaviour. Co-designing solutions with food service stakeholders to address business and operation challenges is crucial to the attainment of a positive impact at the point-of-sale.

This research shows how marketing changes behaviour in individuals and business entities, contributing to positive environmental impact through waste reduction in the commercial food service sector.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Early online date18 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jan 2024


  • Plate waste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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