A lot of household level food waste is caused by insufficient planning for shopping and cooking. Parties are great occasions to prepare some delicious food for your friends and a great starting point for a nice evening. However, it can be quite difficult to decide how much to buy. Here are some tips and tricks of how to optimize your food planning for parties and how to avoid waste:

  • Plan your meals! Check which ingredients you might still have at home to avoid over-shopping.
  • Fresh ingredients should be bought close to the time. Look at the ingredients due dates to make sure they’ll be alright.
  • Make sure you have enough fridge-space to store your party food.
  • Allocate the food reasonably. Don’t cut all of the bread at once and leave bottles closed until you serve them. It will be much easier to store the leftovers afterwards if they are not on serving plates/open packets.

Of course it is even better (and cheaper!) to not buy too much food. So here are some practical hints of what to think about when you plan the amount of food:

  • Consider whether you will provide a full meal or just offer  snacks.
  • The number of people in a recipe normally refer to a full meal, so if you have multiple options you need much less of each.
  • How long do you estimate your party to last? People will get hungry again after a while, so be prepared for a second run to the buffet.
  • Here’s an example for a mixed party buffet and how much food you should calculate per person depending on the duration of your party.
2 to 4 hours 4 to 6 hours 6 to 10 hours
Appetizer 300 g 390 g 420 g
Soup 80 ml 80 ml 250 ml
Party Salad 50 g 50 g 50 g
Dessert 80 g 80 g 80 g
Bread 40 g 40 g 60 g
Snacks 15 g 30 g 30 g

With all these tips in mind, you hopefully reduce your leftovers. If you still have too much at the end of the party, ask your friends to take some home. You don’t need to waste food and your friends have a delicious snack for the next day – a win-win situation!

Maybe you want to try out some of our food waste recipes to serve at your party? Check out these:

Carrot top pesto – that you could use as a dip as well

Roasted potato peels – as a salty snack in between

Coffee brownies – a nice and energizing desert

Cinnamon crusts – little snack for cinnamon lovers

Sweet Cinnamon Pasta bites – small cinnamon hearty snacks

Pasta Muffin bites – original savoury finger-food




[1] Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft. Der Partyplaner. Retrieved from:  https://www.zugutfuerdietonne.de/praktische-helfer/partyplaner/


[2] Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft. Für schöne Feste ohne Reste. Retrieved from: https://www.zugutfuerdietonne.de/praktische-helfer/partyplaner/partybuffet-planen/