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How to Be Sustainable in the Foodservice Industry

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Sustainability is set to be a hot topic in foodservice for the year ahead, having already been included as one of our 5 biggest 2020 food trends to watch. Of course, understanding the importance of running a sustainable business isn’t the same as understanding what steps you can take to do that. Thankfully, there are plenty of small changes that you can make as business to ensure that your establishment is as environmentally-friendly as possible.

Reduce Food Waste

Reducing food waste is a crucial part of running not only a sustainable business but also a profitable one. Considering how large the foodservice industry is, its global contribution to food waste is a sizeable one. According to 2018 figures from the government’s food advisory body, WRAP, the UK food industry generated 1.9 million tonnes of food waste in a year. The data also states that 400,000 tonnes of said waste could have been either avoided or redistributed, preventing it from ending up in landfills.

One strategy of reducing food waste is to redistribute any surplus food, using an app like Olio or Too Good to Go. Both of these apps help businesses cut down on their food waste by connecting them with consumers. In the case of Olio, the food is available for free, while Too Good to Go allows caterers to sell items at a reduced rate, allowing them to profit from surplus food that would otherwise have ended up in the bin.

Another way that a food operators can reduce food waste is by reviewing the portion sizes that they offer. If you find that plates often come back with food still on them, the portion sizes that you are currently offering may be too large for your guests. While customers will obviously be conscious of getting value for money when they dine out, there’s a balance to strike between that, profitability, and food waste.

Canned and frozen foods also go a long way in preventing unnecessary food waste as these products can be used as and when required by customer demand. Thefoodpeople’s 2020–2021 Food and Beverages Trends Report has even earmarked the return to ambient, frozen, and canned goods as a key trend for the year with the aim of preventing food waste.

Create an Eco-Friendly Menu

Portion sizes aren’t the only way that your menu can help you run a more sustainable venture. There are plenty of small changes that you can make to it that will all add up to a big difference in how eco-friendly your business is. For example, where you order the ingredients for your menu from will impact your carbon footprint as any items that need to be shipped from overseas will have a much larger carbon footprint than ingredients sourced in the UK and Ireland – the further goods have to travel, the bigger their carbon footprint will be. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to source your entire menu locally, but a small step like using a UK or Ireland-based supplier will help you significantly cut down your business’ carbon footprint.

Reducing the number of meat options that you offer will also make your menu eco-friendlier as crop farming releases far fewer greenhouse gases than animal farming. Providing more plant-based menu choices will also align with the increasing consumer demand for vegan and vegetarian dishes, as they too look to become more sustainable in their lifestyle choices. You can easily create meat-free versions of dishes that your customers love. This can be achieved by swapping out meat for vegetarian alternative like soya mince or substituting dairy milk for a plant-based one instead. Or, if your business serves the food-to-go market then you can expand your offering to include our Country Range Vegan Pasty or the Country Range 6” Frozen Vegan Sausage Rolls.

Use Sustainable and Ethically-Sourced Ingredients

It’s not just location that matters when it comes to how you source your products. Sustainability and ethical-sourced should be a key part of your decision making too.

One way that you can do your part is by checking with your suppliers to see if the eggs, meat items, and seafood that they supply is free range of responsibly sourced. Sustainable and ethically-sourced products are usually a sign that the food can be traced and was produced with animal welfare in mind, such as our free Free Range Medium Eggs.

Suppliers should easily be able to provide you with evidence that their products are responsibly sourced. For example, the Frozen Farmed Atlantic Salmon Portions we sell are responsibly sourced, as are our King Prawns, so caters know that they are sustainably sourced. And it’s not just food items that need to be ethically and sustainably sourced. Tea is one of the most popular drinks around the world, which makes it vital for it to be ethically sourced. The easiest way to ensure this is by buying Rainforest Alliance Certified Tea. These marks and certifications are particularly important when it comes to your products as it signals to your customers that your business cares about not just the quality of its ingredients but also the manner in which they are sourced.

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