As people become more environmentally aware, it’s safe to say the word sustainable has been making an appearance more often lately; for example sustainable fashion, going second hand or fixing clothes to stop using fast fashion stores that have factory locations around the world that aren’t practiced in an environmentally or humanly ethical way. This is to prevent the markets being as high in demand, hopefully decreasing the footprints we’re leaving behind us.
So how can the hospitality industry help with sustainability? In our sustainable series we will be looking at different areas in the industry we live in, whether it is for restaurants, retail or hotels, we’ve got the tips.
Today we will be discussing restaurants and what they can do to become more sustainable for the world around us.
The culinary world is thriving, with new chefs come new inventions, and new ways to present the food we thought we loved, by making it better than we could ever imagine. But with new inventions in this ever growing sector, is it perhaps time for us to invent a safe way to produce these lovely meals so we can enjoy them guilt free; or better, so that we can enjoy them more knowing there is a positive impact right on our plates?
It was found in a study by the University of Oxford that the meat and dairy provided is accounted for 83% of farmland and shockingly 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gases. The meat that produces up to 150kg of greenhouse gases per 100kg of meat is beef, and then is followed be lamb at 27kg, port at 14kg and chicken closely follows with 12kg. But how do we change this negative impact? Ask questions, ask questions exactly like that. Where did the meat come from? Ensure that, for example, the beef cattle were grazing through natural pasture rather than deforested land, which generates 12 times more gasses than being in a natural environment. Ask about the animal’s welfare; for example, if the farms avoid soya and the use of antibiotics in food for the cattle then they are probably causing a lower impact. However, it can be noted that reducing the use of meat in the kitchen can really do a lot for the world.
Another thing to consider when building a more sustainable restaurant would be dairy; ensuring that your dairy is sourced from free range dairy pastures for example so that you are guaranteed to have products from cows that have grazed outside for six months minimum on farms that do not allow the euthanasia of bull calves. This ensures that the animal welfare is put first – this is important to follow as consumption of milk has fallen by a third, and it seems that the cows are now living longer from the welfare schemes and feeding costs changing. Backlash is bound to happen if the public see that your provided dishes don’t follow ethical means.
We know that energy is costly for the wallet, but it also costs our environment significantly. There are some changes to ensure that you can minimise any issues and be part of the solution.
Install induction and electric hobs that will only draw power when needed, find technologies that reduce cooking time. Save time, money and the world all at once, a pretty sweet deal!
It has been found that consumers would opt to eat at sustainable restaurants that show their dedication to reducing their carbon footprint and that the public are becoming aware of which restaurants are energy efficient and sustainable.
It’s safe to say that plastic is the most spoken about thing when it comes to doing our part to save the planet; more people are using paper and metal straws, bringing reusable bags for their grocery run; but it’s hard to determine how a restaurant will positively impact this growing movement. So what can you do?
When it comes to food deliveries, a few places are trying to find alternative ways of doing this; for example some meat, fish and produce suppliers are now delivering loose ingredients, meaning that there is no packaging at all, and providing them in reusable crates which can be cleaned and returned to the companies from the restaurant. Stop using cling film and store anything in hard plastic containers, or better yet, the beeswax wraps which can keep food freshly wrapped. Better yet, try to reduce food waste and you may not need to think about cling film again.
Try to motivate your staff to encourage the sustainable lifestyle and teach them on how to take these tips from the restaurant back to their home. A movement can only start from, well, a movement; why don’t you make the move in your workplace and see what changes you can make together!