As sustainability becomes increasingly important to consumers, the food service sector must also evolve with the times.
Here are 8 ways food catering is becoming more sustainable:
1. STRENGTHENING THE SUPPLY OF LOCAL AND SEASONAL PRODUCTS
Eating food that is local and seasonal can significantly reduce a meal's carbon footprint. This is because the greater the distance food has to travel, the greater its environmental impact will be.
One additional benefit of offering seasonal and local products is that it helps support the future and job security of local businesses and farmers.
2. REDUCING FOOD WASTE
Unfortunately, food waste in corporate catering is still a problem. Fortunately, more and more companies are attempting to reduce it.
Initiatives that reduce food waste include donating food leftovers to organizations that know how to use them, or ordering the right quantities using smart technology.
By reminding each other of their responsibility, a community of sustainable caterers is being gradually built up.
3. OFFER MORE PLANT-BASED MENUS
Spotted on the slide of a PowerPoint presentation by Foodservice Alliance, during the most recent foodservice conference at Horeca Expo: consumers do not want to know about vegan & veggie meals in the foodservice sector for now. 68% are omnivores, 24% flexitarian and only 7% vegetarian or vegan.
In addition, the global meat consumption per person is also still rising. And, of course, more consumption will also mean more production. It is no secret that this leads to an increase in carbon emissions and the disappearance of flora and fauna in place of livestock land. It seems that eliminating meat from the menu offerings is not a realistic option for now.
However, reduced meat consumption would already be a step forward. By providing tasty vegetarian or plant-based options in a corporate catering menu, you're already offering consumers the choice to sink their teeth into a slightly more sustainable meal now and then.
4. Choosing a sustainable network + partners
By collaborating with companies that are themselves sustainable efforts, you ensure even less ecological damage, and build a network of sustainable collaborations.
Compass Group's net-zero target for 2050 is a clear example of a commitment to work together to achieve both short and long-term goals.
5. USE REUSABLE CUTLERY
Decreasing plastic use will reduce waste. Now let's agree on who wants to do the dishes when...
6. ECO-FRIENDLY CLEANING
By using cleaning products that are non-toxic and biodegradable, a food service company's cleaning crew can also do its part, aiming for a planet that is clean yet not polluted at the same time.
7. CURBING OTHER WASTE
Dripl drink dispensers that encourage people to use their own drink cans, a paperless business where lunch menus are distributed digitally, energy-efficient machines...
Any additional efforts to reduce waste within the food service industry can make it a more sustainable industry.
8. LESS SUGAR
The demand for food that is both nutritious and tasty is on the rise. As a result, foodservice companies are putting extra effort into preparing meals that not only taste good, but are also sustainable in origin. One way to achieve this is by reducing the sugar in the menus.
Sugar cane is the world's most produced crop. It's also common for its production to involve the use of too much pesticide, as well as almost 2 litres of water for every kilogram of sugar.
The impact on the environment is quite significant, isn't it? Thanks to the creativity of chefs, the food service sector will be able to offer food options in the future with less sugar included.
CONCLUSION: BALANCING SUSTAINABILITY WITH CUSTOMER SATISFACTION?
Striking a balance between environmental concerns and customer satisfaction is an ongoing process in the foodservice industry that requires careful consideration.
Companies can create a positive impact on the environment by taking steps such as water conservation and waste reduction, optimisation of energy consumption, and using local products wherever possible. If companies follow these strategies, they can help create a more sustainable future for everyone.