How can the foodservice industry become more sustainable?
24 May 22
Sustainability has been a prominent issue for many years, but it has become much more publicised in recent years by certain celebrities and activists.
Although the issue was somewhat placed on the back-burner throughout the worldwide pandemic, when the main concern for the hospitality industry was survival, it is now widely recognised that we all need to make a considerable effort to become more sustainable.
Here are some of the key things to consider for a more sustainable future:
Around a third of food produced globally goes to waste every year, over half of which is avoidable, and this adds up to approximately £3.2 billion worth of food wastage. Food waste is a huge contributor to carbon emissions, therefore it is important to start putting measures in place to reduce your food waste.
There are many ways to start controlling your food waste, from reducing portion sizes to offering take-away containers for leftover food (sustainable, of course), to creating daily specials which are compiled of ingredients that would have otherwise been wasted.
Over half of plastic produced globally is single-use or non-recyclable plastic, which pollutes our oceans and causes severe damage to our ecosystem. In the UK alone, it is estimated that 500 million non-recyclable plastic takeaway containers are used and disposed of every year.
Changing any and all packaging you use to re-usable, recyclable or biodegradable packaging would make a substantial difference, and would certainly be a huge step forward. It should also be considered, especially for the foodservice industry, that excessive packaging is often used by food and beverage suppliers, therefore it would be beneficial to request that suppliers too eliminate any single-use containers, and cut down on unnecessary packaging.
Reducing carbon emissions
As previously mentioned, one significant way to reduce carbon emissions is to reduce food wastage. Another solution is to lower the number of ingredients/produce you order that needs to be transported across country, or further, and instead begin to source local and seasonable produce; not only will this help to reduce carbon emissions, but you will also be supporting local businesses, farmers etc.
Additionally, you can opt to welcome more digital solutions to your business, and use less paper. Paper manufacturing hugely contributes to air, water and land pollution and are among the top 10 greenhouse gas emitting industries – reducing your paper usage will lessen the impact on forests and of climate change.
Increased plant-based products
Surprisingly, one of the biggest ways to become more sustainable and reduce environmental impact is to use less meat and dairy. Studies show that meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, however use 83% of farmland and account for an enormous 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gases.
It should be noted that the significant rise in popularity of vegan/plant-based food over the past 2-3 years could lessen the blow of offering less meat/dairy in favour of plant-based alternatives.
Are you interested in changing your commercial kitchen set-up to become more sustainable?
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