As hopes grow for a fresh start for the new year and the world's prorities have been given new focus, the Sustainable Restaurant Association have compiled their Top Ten Sustainability Tips for the food, drink and hospitality industry to strive towards in 2021. Check through this list of valuable sustainable actions to make sure your business is taking the right steps forward.
1. Saving the planet starts with people
Numerous studies suggest that employees will be more loyal to and engaged with an employer that helps them positively contribute to the social and environmental issues they care about. Start by giving one member of the team time in their calendar to focus on building a more sustainable business and involve the whole team in the journey towards meeting that goal. These ambassadors will be your passport to the future.
2. Make every menu change a restorative one
Menus are the best tool to restore climate, nature and diners, as food accounts for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gases. Next time you’re looking at a menu change, consider swapping out a meat dish in favour of a plant-based one, simply replace some of the meat in the dish. In a 2020 survey, 75% of diners told the SRA they’d be likely to order a dish in which veg replaced meat. It’s lighter on the pocket and the planet.
3. Switch on to green energy
The proportion of renewable energy in the grid is growing year on year, now accounting for more than 30% of all electricity. Crucially, the price has dropped significantly and is now on a par with brown energy. Follow the lead of businesses like Nando’s and by switching to green energy the average restaurant will save more than 13 tonnes of CO2 every year.
4. Go loco for local
Switch one imported item to a UK supplier – follow the lead of Pizza Pilgrims who’re now sourcing their annual supply of 4.5 tonnes of basil from a London grower rather than flying it in from Spain, Israel and Italy. They are knocking 240,000 air miles out of the supply chain and creating jobs on their doorstep, as well as serving a fresher and tastier herb on their pizzas for the same price.
5. Carbon footprint – net zero
Setting a net zero target is no longer a pipe dream. Major operators like Wagamama and Pizza Hut are on the road to net zero emissions. You can take the first steps by completing a carbon foot-printing assessment.
6. Feed people not bins
It sounds obvious, but don’t throw food away that can be eaten. It’s our most valuable commodity and the industry is still throwing away close to 1m tonnes a year. Install a food waste bin, measure how much is going in, assess where it’s coming from and set a reduction target. If you are left with surplus try selling it with Too Good to Go or donating it through Olio.
7. Make your most sustainable dish your most popular one
Two thirds of diners told the SRA in 2020 that they would order a restaurant’s most sustainable dish over their usual favourite, if they knew what it was. Here’s an opportunity to capitalise on increased consumer interest in provenance and climate-friendly food. Choose the most sustainable dish on your menu, highlight it, tell its story on your social channels and the menu and track sales.
8. Share your sustainability success
Too many restaurants hide their lights under a bushel. Sure, diners don’t want a side order of lecture with their meal, but they’d love to know that by choosing to dine with you they are eating their way to a climate solution. Hero suppliers on the menu, proclaim the power of veg and celebrate food made from ‘waste’.
9. Assess where you’re at
Without assessing where your business is at, it’s impossible to set targets, so take just a few minutes to review current practices with our easy-to-use self-assessment tool. The SRA will then send a report with a suggested action plan for plotting you path to greater public benefit.
10. Join the SRA
Last but not least…by joining the SRA a foodservice business is becoming part of a movement - a unique network of like-minded individuals and organisations all focused on the same goals which brings major opportunities for knowledge sharing and a powerful sense of joint enterprise. The SRA’s Food Made Good programme also include the industry standard sustainability rating and a library of practical resources to help businesses meet their goals. Find out more here.
For more industry trends, we have an exceptional line-up of industry pioneers who are ready to share, discuss and educate you on the latest trends set to impact the hospitality industry this year. Discover the upcoming webinars here.