How the plant-based movement is raising the appetite for sustainable catering
We’re all aware that by serving and packaging food in single-use plastics, while cheaper and sometimes more hygienic, we’ll pay a hefty price tag on our environment. Most of us also know that minimising how much food we throw away and ensuring our produce has been sourced in ethical ways are both critical aspects of truly sustainable catering.
At Eurest, we know that there’s an appetite for change in the workplace catering space – and that’s being fuelled by the plant-based food market. Worth £443 million back in 2018, this market is rising fast as more and more people seek more mindful and sustainable food choices.
Here we look at why this might be, and how it’s impacting the food we serve in the workplace.
People are seeing the link between climate change and the food on our plates
Consumers have picked up on the links between climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and the food that they eat every day. As a result, they’re quickly turning to a menu that allows them to reduce their meat, fish and dairy - not necessarily in the name of animal welfare like with vegetarianism and veganism, but to reduce C02 and move towards a greener planet.
Plant-based eating is the ultimate flexible approach to food
Until recently, plant-based diets were seen as a black or white topic – you either follow a fully plant-based diet or you don’t.
Plant-based eating, however, has evolved to become more about the choice to reduce animal products and, as a result, lessen our carbon footprint.
When it comes to sustainable workplace catering, there are two choices that we’ve seen being made in response to the rise in plant-based eating.
Some caterers have dropped meat entirely from their menus, while others are embracing the aspect of choice and balance by making plant-based menus an integral part of their offering while retaining meat, fish and dairy options.
Good for us, as well as the planet
Meat contains saturated fat, which can contribute to heart issues when eaten in excess. A study published in August 2019 in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating a plant-based diet may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 16 percent and dying of this health condition by about 31 percent.
Other research indicates that a diet lower in meat-based products can also prevent and lessen the likelihood of other conditions such as hypertension, cancer and diabetes. Menus that focus on reducing meat intake is not only a step towards a more sustainable future, but also a more health-focused food culture.
Our Kitchen Promise
At Eurest, our Kitchen Promise comprises of a set of principles, which guide our chefs when it comes to structuring more sustainable menus. They include:
- Using fresh and seasonal produce
- Supporting UK farmers by ensuring 80% of what’s used is British grown
- Sourcing tea and coffee from ethical suppliers such as Fairtrade
- Creating tasty, healthy and plant-based dishes
Our Culinary Director, Ryan Holmes said:
"We set ourselves the target of becoming climate net zero by 2030 but wanted to ensure this food philosophy was integral to continually enhancing our food offering. Our Kitchen Promise aims to assure anyone eating in our restaurants, as well as our staff, that we are committed to sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint."
Sustainable catering in the workplace
Our plant-based initiatives, such as Plantilicious, are carefully crafted to help shrink our customer’s carbon footprint at work and adopt healthy habits that stay long after the day is done.
Each dish is prepared with responsibly sourced ingredients, and we seize every opportunity to keep all food and packaging waste to a minimum. It’s our way of helping our customers protect the planet.
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