What's in a name? A doggie bag by any other name still contains leftover food.
Yet in Italy, the doggie bag is being rebranded simply because of its name. A 1 million euro campaign is underway to get restaurants to offer and diners to accept a "family bag," according to BBC News. The Italians, it seems, are so proud of their food (and they should be) that sending home food in a bag specifically for a dog is the equivalent of saying the food is no good for humans to eat. Rather than give that impression, Italians have avoided taking home uneaten food from restaurants.
The result is a lot of wasted food, and Italy's government is addressing the problem that not only keeps perfectly good food from being eaten but also wastes an estimated 1 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
Calling a takeout container filled with leftover food a "family bag" instead of a "doggie bag" was successful in one regional pilot program, so the program is going nationwide. The bag or box will still contain leftover food — delicious Italian leftover food — but the stigma will be gone. By using the word "family" instead of "doggie," the implication will be that the food inside is meant for human consumption. What a simple solution! And one that could keep a lot of food from going to waste, chipping away at the problem in Italy and beyond.
Food waste is a global problem. Around one-third of the food fit for human consumption is wasted each year, according to a report by the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization. If the greenhouse gas emissions created by wasted food were measured as a country, it would be the third-largest country after the United States and China.
Other measures Italy is taking to tackle food waste include allowing food to be given away past its sell-by date and permitting farmers to donate unsold produce to charities.