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Expert Opinion

The rise of sustainable restaurants

We are fast approaching our world’s first ever green industrial revolution. In the news, we are being fed information relating to the sustainability of our living, as well as the way in which business operates. There is no easy way to evolve business but restaurants in particular are coming under scrutiny as the quest for greener living continues. Figures such as Greta Thunburg are paving the way for the future, but already there are a multitude of companies that are shaking up the food industry and reshaping the way in which our restaurants and catering businesses are operating for the better.

In 2018, we began to really see a kickstarter of eco-friendly businesses, some of which included restaurants and although it may have seemed a trend at the time, the need for consistent sustainability has only grown, thus meaning a rise in the amount of restaurants who have stepped forwards. In a bid to appeal to all millenials and green living customers, some brands in the UK have turned their restaurants into a buzzing business. The impact that bad food has on our body is becoming clearer including how certain foods have links to cancer and whilst it may not be a solid gamechanger, the benefits of eating well seem to far outweigh the bad; and this can also have a huge impact on the environment, for the better as well as improving business and can prove to be a successful marketing tool moving forwards.

Photo: Pixabay

The Pig hotel group, based a little further south, have been paving the way, and offer five different menus to which are best suited to their produce in given location. This can prove a beneficial way to live and it may just be that restaurants all over the UK will soon follow suit. This does mean of course having better trained chefs who are able to easily adapt, create new menus and deliver the goods to order; but the sustainability of eating fresh food, from farm to mouth is very real. Produce in the local area that is widespread can be used more so in the menus without having to reach too far out of the city to bring in new produce.

We can see also, a rise in brands who are beginning to promote a shake up in the way we eat meat. Latest news has shown that meat eating is bad for the planet, this is seen by the pollution of fossil fuel usage, animal methane, effluent waste and elevated water and land consumption which proves to be bad for the environment on a long term basis; some of which are already showing to scientists as we approach the new decade. It is not yet proven if this will lead to rises in those who opt for vegan food, or even vegetarian but there’s a new buzz word on the market, ‘flexitarian’ which means that meat eaters are choosing the vegetarian options less and less, but still incorporate meat into their diet. A good starting point and in Birmingham alone, there are already a huge amount of vegan friendly restaurants. Some of which include: The Warehouse Cafe, Natural Healthy Foods, Cherry Reds and Mowgli and this is just in Birmingham alone. The entire Midlands aare and north of the border are beginning to take on board the need to start thinking green and incorporating sustainable foods onto their menus. It may even prove to be cheaper as time goes on, with more access to crops and fresh produce as well as a growth in popularity. London and the south are seeing a 30% increase in vegan cafes, and the north is not too far behind with a 20% growth in larger northern cities.

Is the implementation a difficult process for established restaurants?

Sustainability for restaurants means, in essence, the operation of protecting, preserving and restoring natural elements which can further promote social equality and aids the community. The Midlands most sustainable restaurant, Opus at Cornwall Street has recently received a prestigious award. The 2AA Rosette restaurant bagged themselves the ‘Best Greener and Healthier Lifestyles (Food) Scheme’ award, a coveted win.

The goal of improving the practices takes time and effort, but there is a rise in brands and restaurants alike, implementing key tools to elevate their progress within sustainability, meaning that the UK is one of the world’s greatest leaders for this brand new and exciting chapter. Rewriting the industry is no mean feat, however it is well underway and the Midlands are proudly able to hold their heads high in the next chapter of restaurant sustainability.