Restaurant Sustainability Practices
Many restaurants are looking for new opportunities and innovation. While some operators may be launching a new menu or investing in a new marketing strategy, others are looking to incorporate sustainability into their businesses. Now more than ever, consumers want their food sustainably and ethically sourced. They’re making their preferences known in social media and word of mouth, using their purchasing power to support businesses aligned with their values. Here are some of the trends in restaurant sustainability:
Food Waste Awareness
Food waste is one of the fastest-growing problems in the industry. Businesses and farms spend $218 billion a year in US only for processing, transporting, and disposing food that is never eaten. Consumers are not confident where their next meal will come from. We can expect to see more awareness of this global issue, as the industry attempts to solve it through prevention, recovery, and recycling efforts.
Shelf-life Extending Products
Restaurants have an opportunity to create less food waste by investing in products like shelf-life extenders. New technologies are emerging and shelf life extenders are more and more often used in the supply chain during packing and shipping. We should expect to see more of this type of innovative, waste reduction technology in restaurants and grocery stores.
Elimination of Single-use Plastics
As restaurant operators can expect to see more regulations on plastics materials, it is wise to invest in reusable alternatives sooner rather than later.
The Ugly Produce
Fruits and vegetables often go unpicked in fields or get thrown away because they don’t meet certain standards. Many companies are now offering consumers the convenience and savings of produce that would have been discarded, and give these items a second life. Restaurants suppliers will find ways to utilize produce that may not be the most good-looking one and use these items in sauces, soups, or other menu items where the flavor of the ingredients is more important than the appearance.
By donating to communities in need, restaurants can help reduce food waste and hunger. Many local food banks pick up food donations free of charge. Not only this practice would improve restaurant sustainability, but patrons would be more willing to choose a restaurant knowing that a portion of their spending will go to help people in need.
The future of our oceans and entire species depend on humans eating fish caught sustainably. Diners who enjoy seafood are paying more attention now than before to which fish they are choosing.
More Vegetables (Less Meat)
Having more vegetarian options on the menus doesn’t mean that diners want to go vegetarian or vegan; probably they just want to change up the proportions on their plate. Dishes with a variety of nutritious vegetables and smaller portions of animal proteins are healthier for the consumer and better for the planet. Some of the most popular food trends are now vegetable-based, making it easy to incorporate more veggies into the menu.