How many times have you ordered an entrée at a restaurant only to leave a pile of food on your plate, dump the remains into a doggie bag, or stagger out the door with your pants unbuttoned? The new program Halfsies hopes to cut portion sizes for a good cause.
Halfsies identifies three food-focused problems in the United States. 1) Oversized servings. Most restaurant portions here are 2-4 times the recommended serving sizes, which contributes to our epidemic of overweight Americans. And portion size is a problem that keeps growing: 20 years ago, two slices of pizza added up to 500 calories; today, two slices weigh in at 850 calories. 2) Excessive food waste. Nearly half of the food produced in the United States is thrown in the trash. It’s commonly cited that every day we waste enough food to fill the Rose Bowl. 3) Hunger. More than 50 million Americans—and 1 billion people worldwide—are affected by food insecurity.
Combine these challenges, and “you have a dysfunctional feedback loop of waste, hunger and obesity,” says Beth Hoffman of Food + Tech Connect.
Halfsies wants to break this toxic pattern with a wonderfully simple initiative. When at a participating restaurant, choose a menu item with the Halfsies icon next to it and receive a half-portion. You’ll combat food waste as well as eat a healthier amount. You’ll also fight hunger: You pay full price for the plate, and the resulting proceeds are distributed to local nonprofit partners (60 percent), global hunger organizations (30 percent), and back into the Halfsies budget (10 percent).
Pilot programs will be launched in New York City and Austin, Texas, this spring. To learn more and help bring Halfsies to other parts of the country, view their beautifully commonsensical video here: