As you're setting business goals and intentions for the year ahead, be sure to keep our planet in mind. A 2018 Food and Health survey found that 6 in 10 consumers say it is important to them that the food they purchase or consume is produced in a sustainable way, an increase from 50% who said the same in 2017.
Here are 5 ways you can incorporate greener methods into your own foodservice operations in 2021:
Energy & Water Efficiency
According to the EPA, implementing water-efficient practices in foodservice establishments can decrease operating costs by 11%, energy use by 10%, and water use by 15%. In a case study also from the EPA, a Boston University cafeteria was able to save 48,000 gallons of water each year by upgrading its kitchen to high-efficiency pre-rinse spray valves.
To conserve more water:
To conserve more energy:
Agriculture can have significant impacts on the environment. Unsustainable agricultural practices can destroy soil, as well as cause water and air pollution. And, about a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from land use and agriculture combined. However, adopting certain regenerative farming practices can actually help combat these climate issues. Some regenerative farming practices include:
Purchasing food for your operations from local, sustainable farmers that are committed to these regenerative practices and others can help you reduce the carbon footprint of your own establishment.
You can also partner with organizations such as Zero Foodprint, a nonprofit organization that’s mobilizing the food world around agricultural climate solutions. Foodservice operators that are members of ZFP crowd-fund grants for farmers to switch to renewable farming practices by adding a 1% fee to each meal. So far, ZFP and its foodservice partners have been able to pull over 2 million gallons of gas emissions from the atmosphere so far through this program. At Lunchette, a Zero Foodprint eatery serving plant-based lunches in Petaluma, California, 95% of all waste produced is compostable.
Zero Food Waste
A study found that foodservice operators and retailers across the country contribute to a combined 24 million tons of food waste each year. And in a recent report by Champion 12.3, researchers found that for every $1 restaurants invested in programs to reduce kitchen food waste, they were able to save $7 on average in operating costs.
In order to reduce the amount of food waste your operation is producing, it’s important to understand what’s being wasted by conducting a waste audit of your business. The EPA has a helpful guide that takes restaurant owners through the steps on how to conduct and analyze a food waste assessment for your business.
Here are some tips from the NRDC on how to reduce and prevent food waste in both the front and back of house:
HoneyFlower Foods is a sustainable grab and go meal company in Washington, D.C. that donates all uneaten meals to homeless shelters and non-profits including SOME, Cornerstones, Casa Ruby, and Martha’s Table. This is one way that HoneyFlower Foods is able to reduce their food waste and give back to their community.
According to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, the average piece of produce in the U.S. travels 1,500 miles. Localizing your supply chain and centering your menu around local food (grown within 100 miles!) helps support local farmers in your community and is better for the planet.
Here are some ways you can incorporate more local food into your menu:
Cafe Gratitude, a small chain of Southern California plant-based eateries, supports local farmers, sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and environmentally friendly products. Ryan Engelhart, Co-Founder of Cafe Gratitude, describes how the vegan restaurant supports local farmers and regenerative agriculture in an interview with Territory Foods:
“Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time and energy to curate an ethical supply chain. Our baseline standard is sourcing from farmers who practice organic and sustainable methods. Beyond this, we always seek producers, winemakers, and farmers who are innovating towards regenerative agriculture.
For example, we created a wine program that focused on Biodynamics. We brought all our tortilla corn from one producer named David Vetter, who is a pioneering regenerative, organic farmer. We developed a pizza and beer special focused on a perennial wheat grain called Kernza and beer from Patagonia Provisions. We purposefully have 40+ vendors rather than two or three to assure we serve products from value-aligned sources and producers.”
By switching to compostable packaging for your takeout and delivery operations, you can help reduce your operation’s waste footprint. Compostable packaging, such as the plant-based options offered by World Centric, is the sustainable alternative to paper, plastic, and expanded polystyrene packaging.
In Exeter, New Hampshire, local cafe LANEY & LU works with a dozen local farmers and merchants throughout New England to source local food that positively impacts the community’s ecosystems rather than harm them. Plus, all takeout served at LANEY & LU is packaged in compostable foodservice ware.
"We began LANEY & LU with a strong vision for inspiring community and believe that we have a responsibility to make a positive contribution in the world,” describes LANEY & LU Founder, Jennifer Desrosiers. “This is reflected in how we want our guests to feel seen and important. We mindfully source everything from our food to our supplies to our packaging. World Centric is an obvious choice for LANEY & LU. Their company values are in alignment with ours and the quality of their products bolsters our customer’s experience with our food. The food looks amazing and the packaging feels great in your hand. And, it 100% meet our sustainability ethos."
Nov 21, 2019
Be the first to know about new products, educational articles, and exclusive offers for email subscribers only.