Running a Sustainable Food Business - Some Simple Takeaways
Is this a familiar sight in your food business?
Time to take some action.
Sustainability means cutting down on usage and waste – be it energy, water or food. For a food business cutting down on food waste and sourcing for eco-food and will definitely go a long way to making it a sustainable business.
Here are some simple takeaways that will not cost you an arm and a leg!
- Have varying portion sizes on your menu including kid and senior meals and side orders, especially chips – the main culprit. Your customers will appreciate your giving them an option not to leave food on their plate while at the same time being kinder on their pockets.
- Highlight on the menu that are more sustainable; where the food is ethically and locally sourced or a seasonal produce.
- Highlight vegetables or meat substitutes as options that are brilliant and modern alternative and not as an act of going without or giving it the ethical spin.
- Use leftovers in the kitchen for stock, soups or stews and work them into your menu. This is a sure money saver and waste reducer.
- If you find that some of the ingredients for your meals often go to waste because you cannot use it be the end of its validity period, purchase wisely and in smaller packages.
- Get to know your local composting facility to send your food waste to. Remember food left on the plate, over ordered stock gone bad and kitchen waste often land up in the landfills where it generate methane as it decomposes – a worst culprit than CO2 for the environment. On top of this, the standard rate for sending your food waste to the landfill is currently £82.60 per tonne and from 1 April 2016 this will be raised to £84.40 per tonne!
- Ask your local composting facility if they will accept your biodegradables packaging with your food waste too.
- Be prepared with your own composting bins at food fairs if the organiser is not able to.
- Donate your leftover food and stock to charities.
- Work with biofuel producers and turn your waste oil into fuel. Remember waste oil if not disposed off correctly will not only harm the environment but can clog drains etc and proof very costly.
The groundswell for sustainability is coming from all direction, be it the authorities, investors, customers or the general public. And any businessman worth his salt will know that it’s serious business when the government is pumping money for energy efficient measures and renewable. In addition, not only do customers want healthier and simpler meals whether dining in or having takeaways, they want to know the source of the food, and any green practices by the business when communicated well will put them on your side.
Some practical advice:
- When it comes to putting your green practices in place, start with one area first and slowly work in more aspects of your business operation. This way the changes will not seem onerous and you will give your staff a chance to get accustom to these practices bit by bit and thus a better buy in from them.
- For small business, this need not be an onerous task as simple measure to reduce energy and water waste such as switching machines off after use, turning the heating down in warm weather, or using sensors on heating and lighting to trip them off when not needed can make real savings in your energy bill. Reducing your total usage/wastage by just 20% could add as much as a 5% increase in sales to your profits.
- Be constantly on the lookout for finding ways to make your operations more eco-efficient, improve them or even cut them out if need be.
- You need not follow every advice as what suits another business may not necessarily suit yours.
- Make changes but be practical and be sure to tell it out to your customers, organisers, media and whoever else who cares to listen.
Sustainability is no longer just a moral decision. It’s a business decision. Let’s face it employing environmentally sound policies for your business is not an option but quite crucial if you do not want to lose your competitive edge.