Sustainable Travel: How the Food Service Industry Can Make a Difference
From calculating their carbon footprint to embracing waste minimisation measures, people are becoming more conscious of their impacts on the environment - and the travel industry is starting to take notice. It’s not just airlines and hotels making changes to attract customers who are savvy about sustainability, the food service industry can also play a big role in promoting eco-friendly travel.
LOCAL SUPPLIES = LOW FOOD MILES
Sourcing ingredients locally is a simple first step towards sustainability. Not only does it reduce the carbon footprint of transporting food from faraway places but it also supports local farmers and businesses. By choosing to serve locally sourced food, restaurants, hotels and other food venues can help to preserve traditional food cultures and promote sustainable agriculture.
Helen’s Hint: Helen’s is passionate about supporting local Australian producers and we source fresh, seasonal ingredients from local farmers wherever possible. This helps our farming industry and keeps to our fresh promise.
WASTE NOT, WANT NOT
The food service industry can promote sustainable travel by reducing food waste. According to the UN, around one-third of all food produced worldwide is disposed of or discarded. This wastes valuable resources, contributes to food insecurity and decomposing food creates methane gas, producing eight per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions annually and contributing to climate change. By implementing systems to monitor, track and reduce food waste, the food service industry can help decrease its environmental impact.
Biodegradable packaging and cutlery is another sustainable solution to the issue of waste. Traditional plastic packaging and cutlery can take hundreds of years to degrade and often end up polluting the environment. By switching to biodegradable alternatives, such as bamboo, recycled cardboard or food manufacturing by-products, the food service industry can reduce waste and its carbon footprint.
Food venues can also encourage customers to bring their own reusable containers. This not only reduces consumption but cuts costs for operators. The industry can actively promote this simple measure by offering discounts or other incentives for customers who supply their containers.
Helen’s Hint: Smart ordering and planning can help you reduce food excess and product loss. Serving pre-portioned, finished products - such as Helen’s pre-sliced Banana Bread, single-serve Quiches and pre-cut Lasagnes - helps keep wastage to a minimum.
CONVERSATIONS WITH CUSTOMERS
Plant-based diets are growing in popularity and not just among vegetarians. Recent IBISWorld research found consumers were driving demand for plant-based menu items for health reasons, over concerns for animal welfare and to promote environmental sustainability.
Engaging customers in educational dialogues also gives the food service industry a unique opportunity to create a more sustainable travel industry and a better future for all. By providing information about local sourcing, reducing food waste and offering plant-based options, restaurants and hotels can help raise awareness and encourage sustainable travel.
Helen’s Hint: Incorporate a variety of plant-based products into your menu to meet travellers’ evolving tastes and dietary choices. Try Helen’s Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Soup or Rustic Potato Rosti.