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Eat up! Prevention of plate waste in tourism and hospitality: a perspective paper

Sara Dolnicar (UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 21 April 2020

Issue publication date: 26 February 2021




Plate waste is uneaten food left behind on the plate after a meal. Plate waste – like all food waste – burdens the environment. Plate waste – in contrast to other types of food waste – is absolutely unnecessary and almost entirely preventable. This study aims to synthesize past research on plate waste and outline a future research agenda.


Past research into plate waste is discussed, and the need for specific directions of future research is pointed out. A systematics of measures for the prevention of plate waste is offered which uses the following as criteria: the suitability of measures to the hospitality context; and whether the measure has been scientifically proven to be effective.


Plate waste research has a very short history. To date, efforts have been focusing on quantifying the extent of the problem. More theoretical work is needed to identify drivers of place waste and develop and experimentally test theory-based practical interventions to reduce the amount of plate waste generated.


The key contribution of this perspective paper is to synthesize prior work on plate waste and offer a future research agenda.



The author would like to thank the Australian Research Council for funding this project under the Discovery Grant Scheme (DP180101855).


Dolnicar, S. (2021), "Eat up! Prevention of plate waste in tourism and hospitality: a perspective paper", Tourism Review, Vol. 76 No. 1, pp. 43-46.



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