A behavior-centered solution to tackling food waste in China’s restaurants
UN Sustainable Development Goals

Food Waste Drives Climate Change

Worldwide, people waste nearly a third of the food we produce. This destructive human behavior comes with a cost: food waste is among the most overlooked contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.


of the world’s global land surface and 70% of global freshwater use goes toward food production.

Largest contributor

of greenhouse gas emissions

Largest driver

of biodiversity loss and deforestation

⅓ of all food is wasted

…that is, a third of the resources used to produce food go to waste.

Food waste in China—the world’s most populous country—mirrors the global situation.  Each year, more than 38 million tons of food is lost or wasted in the country. Most of this food is wasted by consumers, with restaurants generating more waste than that coming from homes and canteens, or stores, combined.

But with any challenge comes opportunity. Curbing food waste in China can help China’s food service providers reduce their business costs, meet growing consumer and political demand for more sustainable operations throughout the country, and protect the environment at the same time—and food service providers are starting to understand these benefits and take action.

China’s micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which make up 97% of China’s enterprises, have the opportunity to make a big impact on tackling food waste in the country. But these MSMEs typically don’t have the resources or capacity to tackle food waste without support.

A Behavior-Centered Approach to Reducing Food Waste

Rare’s Pride on our Plates initiative seeks to empower China’s MSMEs to respond to the food waste challenge.

Reducing and better managing food waste is one of the easiest and most effective ways to mitigate our global food system’s environmental impact and sustainably feed the world. Pride on our Plates uses behavior-centered design, an approach that blends design thinking and insights from behavioral and social sciences, to prevent and reduce food waste generated by MSMEs in China’s hospitality sector.

In partnership with the One Planet Foundation and the WWF Beijing Representative office the project is:
  • Reducing the food waste generated by MSMEs restaurants by helping them adopt more resource-efficient processes.
  • Supporting sustainable consumption and consumer awareness by training MSMEs to reduce food waste, disseminating information to businesses and consumers.
  • Developing a Food Waste Policy Proposal to increase awareness on Sustainable Consumption and Production, distill knowledge for wider replication, enhance policy dialogues, and support strengthening policies related to food waste.

Our Goals  

 By 2024, Pride on our Plates will have helped to tackle food waste in China through the following:  

  1. A practical guide for restaurants that highlights best practices, tools and methods for curbing food waste.
  2. Training for MSMEs and training-the-trainers to expand the project’s reach.
  3. MSMEs enrolled in a pilot program to practice implementing food waste reduction strategies.
  4. A MSME Food Waste Policy Proposal that supports national, regional, and local governments in tackling food waste across China.
  5. Shared learnings and best practices that connect Chinese and European stakeholders working on food waste initiatives.

Restaurant staff will be trained on food waste prevention, reduction and diversion practices


Restaurants applying Sustainable Consumption and Production Practices


Restaurants will have reduced their food waste by 10%

Learnings from the project will be shared with further restaurants through endorsement by industry associations from across China

Switch Asia Grants Programme logo.

This project is co-funded by the European Union.  This webpage was created and maintained with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Rare and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union