In recent years, there have been numerous trends in gastronomy. Certainly, not all of them are worth following. However, the topic of environmental sustainability is one that should not be ignored. Too great is the public interest, too important is the contribution that gastronomy can make and too significant are the possible effects on the medium-term success of your company.
We have compiled a few suggestions on how sustainability can be integrated into the business concept. This contribution presents some ideas on how to draft a sustainable menu.
Focus on local suppliers
Globalization has its merits. However, it also causes food to become a globetrotter, with long transport routes becoming the price to pay for having all types of food available all the time. Consequently, for instance, the carbon footprints of some products are enormous.
At a time when consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of their choices, it could be wise to keep sustainability in mind while drafting your menu. An obvious solution is to emphasize seasonal dishes and regional specialties to complete your culinary palette. This allows you to order from local suppliers, without much difficulty.
Not only is this approach great for the environment, but it may also result in more appreciation and recognition among your customers. Increasingly, people are opting for local products, and not only for ecological reasons. First, with local products, there is more traceability with respect to their origin and how they were produced. Second, they create a spirit of local patriotism. Third, local food is often assumed to be fresher, as it does not have to travel a long route before it reaches the table.
Promote alternatives to meat
High meat consumption has several negative consequences for both our environment and our health. For example,
- Livestock farming is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases. These are released when forests are cleared to create pastures. In addition, the digestion process in cattle generates tons of methane, a particularly harmful greenhouse gas.
- Industrial livestock farming produces large quantities of liquid manure, which, when applied as fertilizer, leads to significant nitrate contamination of groundwater. This is assumed to cause cancer.
- Excessive consumption of meat likely contributes to obesity and cardiovascular disease. To that end, the recommendation is that an individual should eat less than 25 kg of meat per year.
- Traces of medications such as antibiotics are regularly detected in meat, especially when that meat is the product of intensive livestock farming. For us humans, these residues are anything but healthy in the long run.
These facts are well-known to your guests. Therefore, the demand for vegan food in general, and high-quality alternatives to meat in particular, is still high and might even be growing. You should definitely include appropriate dishes on your sustainable menu.
Don’t get it wrong. We don’t recommend that you eliminate meat from your menu. Instead, “high quality” is the key selling point here. Organically produced meat from species-appropriate husbandry is not only more sustainable than meat that comes from livestock farming, but is also assumed to be healthier. Consequently, a sustainable menu will be associated with high quality.