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Food waste reduction: how Thon Hotels saves tens of thousands of meals each year

Did you know that around a third of all food produced around the world goes to waste? By the year 2030, the Olav Thon Group aims to cut its food waste in half and the group's hotel chain is already well on its way to achieving that goal!

Skilt på hotellfrokost på Thon Hotell Cecil.

Thon Hotels reduces food waste by 37,984 meals in one year

"In 2017, we joined a food waste reduction project and discovered how much food waste we actually generated at our hotels," says operations coordinator at Thon Hotels Kari-Lise Lind.

She soon realised that something needed to be done because there turned out be a lot of food left over from the breakfast buffets at Thon Hotels.

"In 2022, we had 55 hotels in Too Good To Go that together saved 37,984 meals," says Kari-Lise.

The Too Good To Go scheme connects restaurants, hotels and shops with customers via an app for the buying and selling of surplus food. It is the perfect partner for Thon Hotels.

Thon Hotel Cecil's breakfast package recently received the highest rating from Avisa Oslo in the category of surplus food for less than 50 kroner. Read more at the bottom!

Dame og mann utveksler håndtrykk ved et bord med papirer, vegg med fargerike bilder av mat i bakgrunnen.
AGREED: Thon Hotels has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Climate and Environment to cut food waste in half by 2030. Picture from signing with then-minister Vidar Helgesen.

Olav Thon Group to cut food waste in half by 2030

The hotels do not earn much from the scheme. In fact, what they earn from Too Good To Go mostly goes to cover packaging. But it's still worthwhile, believes Kari-Lise.

"The reward is a lot less food waste. Customers also get a good breakfast at a bargain and our chefs a better conscience. So, it's a win-win situation!"

The scheme is part of one of the Olav Thon Group's sustainability goals, namely to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030.

Food waste reduction measures at Thon Hotels

  • Smaller plates are used during the breakfast and lunch buffets at the hotels.
  • A joint system (eSmiley) has been introduced for the daily registration and measurement of food waste at the various food service locations.
  • Food is served on smaller platters, which are replenished as needed.
  • All tables in the restaurants have a sign in different languages aimed at generating more awareness and asking guests to help the restaurant throw away less food.
  • A continuous focus is awareness among the kitchen staff in order to draw attention to the effect of food waste reduction and inspire change.

Leftovers breakfast at Thon Hotel Cecil receives highest rating 

A team member who has been part of the effort since day one is Fredrik Aarnes, the former head chef at Thon Hotel Cecil in Oslo.

After all, he believes it is important that customers who order in the app can look forward to a high-quality and varied breakfast.

"We try to put together a diverse surprise box and would rather make fewer large boxes than lots of small ones. Customers seem to really appreciate it," says Fredrik.

When Avisa Oslo tested various leftovers breakfasts bought through Too Good To Go, Thon Hotel Cecil was given the highest possible rating.

Lots of food for the money! Yummy! Good old Thon knows how to deliver the goods. Worth every krone.

Avisa Oslo (news publisher)

Passionate about food waste reduction 

Former head chef Fredrik is passionate about generating awareness about food waste and actively works to implement measures at the Oslo hotel.

"Considering the fact that the industry discards millions of kroner worth of food each year, it goes without saying that we need to contribute. We have a common goal to reduce food waste, both for economic reasons and environmental reasons," says Fredrik.

At the buffet, they have put up signs telling guests how much food was thrown away the day before to inspire them to not take more food than they can eat.

"Too Good To Go also makes clear which foods we should produce less of. If we are putting the same foods in the boxes every time, this means that we should probably produce fewer of these in the future," explains Fredrik.

According to the app, over the past 12 months (2022), the hotel has saved 4,742 meals, equivalent to 11.86 fewer tonnes of CO2. Fredrik is very pleased with this result.

"We may be only a drop in the bucket, but we contribute where we can."

About Too Good To Go

  • Too Good To Go was first established in Denmark in 2015 and is now found in most major European cities, as well as in parts of North America.
  • Worldwide, food service establishments, shops and users of the app saved around 79 million meals in 2022, equivalent to nearly 200,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
  • As of September 2023, 852 bakeries, 390 food service establishments and 2,532 supermarkets are included the Too Good To Go scheme in Norway.
  • At present, you can buy leftovers at 55 Thon Hotels in Norway.


  1. Smilende dame med blondt hår og sort dressjakke ser mot kamera, vegg med fargerike bilder bak. Kari-Lise Lind Operations Coordinator at Thon Hotels
  2. FA Fredrik Aarnes Former Head Chef at Thon Hotel Cecil in Oslo

Read more about the Olav Thon Group's sustainability efforts