The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) outline five ways kitchens can help the environment

The  Staff Canteen

What are the five steps that restaurants need to take to make their kitchens more environmentally friendly?

The ‘final call’ for a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by climate scientists is a golden opportunity for chefs and restaurateurs to engage with consumers on the most important and tangible thing they can re-evaluate – food.

The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) offers all foodservice businesses five ways in which they can both contribute to meeting the 1.5 degrees Celsius target set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), yesterday, and help diners use the power of their appetites wisely.

Many of the ‘unprecedented changes’ demanded by the IPCC to avoid catastrophic consequences require major action and investment from government and big business.

Andrew Stephen, Chief Executive of the SRA, said that food service businesses were ideally placed to take action that would have a positive impact on their operation, customer behaviour and the planet.

“It would be easy for chefs and foodservice professionals to pass the buck for the large-scale changes required to meet this challenging target. What and how we grow, rear, farm, cook and eat though, has a massive impact and therefore the potential for positive change is massive.

“By focusing on the actions, they can take, operators can answer consumers’ desire for more sustainable menus while also significantly reducing their emissions. That’s why we’re offering a five-course menu of steps to help chefs play their part in averting climate disaster."

Serve More Veg

Meat and dairy production accounts for 60% of farming’s greenhouse gas emissions. Offering customers more veg-based options provides them with the potential to reduce their impact more effectively than cutting flights or switching to an electric car.

Follow the lead of restaurants like recent Bib Gourmand recipients Root, making veg dishes the stars of the menu and Moro who moved its vegetable mezze platter to the top of the menu and saw sales rocket by 30%.

Target: Double the amount of veg on the menu and reduce meat by 25%

Waste no Food

If food waste were a nation, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China and it’s costing foodservice businesses more than £2billion a year.

By honing chefs’ skills, smart menu-planning, measuring, monitoring and diverting surplus businesses as diverse as Poco Tapas Bar and JD Wetherspoon have kept food on the plate and out of the bin.

Target: Cut food waste by 25%

Get drastic with plastic

The UK’s fast-moving grab and go culture sees an estimated 7 billion plastic bottles and 2.5 billion disposable cups sold each year along with 8 billion plastic straws. Moving straws behind the counter, Pizza Hut Restaurants reduced use by 80%.

Meanwhile, beach café ODE-true food brought together all the businesses in its Devon village to form a purchasing co-operative, making sustainable packaging affordable.

The SRA’s Unwrapping Plastics resource also provides all the information businesses need to make the right decisions about better packaging.

Target: Remove all single-use plastic

Serve a One Planet Plate

Faced with a full menu of dishes to choose from, it can be hard for even the most conscious diners to feel confident they’re making the right choice. A One Planet Plate is a chance for chefs to highlight their sustainable special.

Nicholas Balfe’s sustainable alternative to smashed avocado – broccomole at Salon and Ottolenghi Head Chef David Bravo’s cured Chalk Stream rainbow trout with pickled broccoli stems are two of the most delicious examples of a One Planet Plate.

Target: Put a One Planet Plate on the menu and double sales of the dish

Sign up to the Chefs’ Manifesto

Conor Spacey of FoodSpace and Chantelle Nicholson of Tredwells are among a growing community of chefs signed up and committed to a simple set of actions aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, bridging the gap between farm and fork and inspiring industry colleagues to make positive changes in their kitchen

Target: Encourage every chef in your business to sign up.

Tom Hunt co-founder of Poco Tapas Bar in Bristol, winner of the Foodservice of the Year award at last week’s Food Made Good Awards, said:

"This week’s report from the IPCC was devastating but also what many of us already understand to be the reality of our situation.

Acknowledging our own collective impact and responsibility to the environment is now critical for the climate-safety of not just our children but ourselves as the timeline of climate change accelerates. As individuals, we can have a positive impact but as a food business we have an opportunity to make a considerable difference to the industry and our planet, quantifiably helping to mitigate climate change, whilst influencing others around the world to do the same.”

The SRA’s Food Made Good sustainability framework provides businesses with a ten-category structure. Operators achieving all ten meet the definition of a good restaurant or foodservice business.

The Sustainable Restaurant Association is a not-for-profit membership org that helps foodservice make smart, sustainable decisions through the Food Made Good campaign.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 17th October 2018

The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) outline five ways kitchens can help the environment