Eating fresh, wasting less, and making the most of what nature gives us
Eating fresh, wasting less, and making the most of what nature gives us
It’s a truth now universally accepted: restaurants throw away an excessive amount of food. Food from people’s plates, unused ingredients, wrong orders – all tossed. The bigger the business, the more waste. The equivalent of 320 million meals are thrown out each year.
But the industry is fighting back!
A restaurant traditionalist might hear the word ‘sustainable restaurants’ and start walking the other way, perturbed by the looming joyless experience.
But the truth is quite the opposite. It takes a lot of imagination, creativity, hard work and – crucially – hopefulness to bring an eco-restaurant together, but it is possible to make a difference.
The solution is transforming your restaurant from a place to eat out to a thriving lifestyle brand. Green standards increasingly drive customers to choose one restaurant over another, and we face the challenge of tapping into those motivations to attract more customers and keep them coming back.
Sustainability can be delicious, exciting, honest, and every day. More and more eco-friendly businesses are springing up across the UK, and creating destinations for those who are conscious about living lower-carbon lives and those who think more deeply about the companies they patron, can pay off.
That’s why tackling food waste against a backdrop of limited resources and growing demands, and having the imagination and skill to celebrate ingredients destined for landfill, have fast become differentiating meta-skills in the dining out sector, and key to luring a new breed of diners through their doors.
Short menus, local produce, no tablecloth. To some, it is a step too far. To others, choosing a restaurant is now about helping to save the planet.
We’re talking sustainable restaurants working to make our planet healthier, with a serious commitment to reducing waste, and adopting eco-friendly practices as standard.
Yes, some will adopt the concept more cynically (buzzword = attention = money), but those are usually relatively easy to spot.
Food systems receive growing attention because they link various sustainability dimensions. Restaurants are at the heart of these developments, and decisions to purchase regional foods, or to prepare healthier and less environmentally problematic menus, can greatly influence food production processes.
Understanding the inputs and outputs of the commercial kitchen, and the positive contributions that commercial kitchens can make to promoting sustainable foodways, is fundamental to how this plays out. Fads fade and cycle, but this isn’t going to go away.
Avoidable out-of-home food waste costs more than £720 million a year. Combined with the 4.2 million tonnes of household food and drink thrown away annually – the equivalent of six meals every week for the average UK household – at the cost of £12.5bn, the financial cost of food waste is substantial. The environmental impact is also significant – the lack of oxygen in landfills causes food to break down anaerobically, producing methane, a greenhouse gas considerably more potent than CO2.
Restaurant owners can lessen the carbon footprint of their kitchens through practical cutbacks such as repurposing ingredients to limit food waste and partnering with local, sustainable food suppliers.
The benefits of our range of dispensers are clear when it comes to saving time. Our Speedwrap 300 & 450 helps chefs to increase productivity and reduce unnecessary product waste, saving valuable time and money. The dispensers are also easy to clean during service and can be disinfected in a commercial dishwasher to minimise cross-contamination.
Sustainability is a complex hydra. But when it comes to fresh food, we already know what we should do: buy local, eat less meat, and look for fish approved by the Good Fish Guide.
There are several ways chefs and kitchen operators can start implementing planet-friendly initiatives in their kitchens, including using energy-saving technologies, composting, waste or water-saving systems, investing in long-lasting equipment – and more.
Prowrap is for anyone interested in the future of food and catering and for anyone who is generally conscious of where we are heading as a society and what could be done better, more green, efficient and ethical.
Sustainable credentials could include sourcing ethical produce, paying attention to food miles, cooking seasonally, and cutting down on waste within the kitchen, as well as staff welfare and community initiatives. Storytelling about suppliers and fielding questions around provenance are also increasingly important.
At Prowrap, and in parallel to the industry, we’re on a sustainability journey of our own. We know all too well that it’s our responsibility to do everything possible to have a positive and transformative impact. We consider every element to maximise operational efficiency with minimal environmental impact.
Sustainable or not, we prioritise dining at certain establishments because we prefer the food.
Our problem is that many people eat out of the home as a treat and don’t want to feel guilty about what they’re eating or leaving. Only recently have diners plucked up the courage to ask for doggy bags to take leftover food home.
A restaurant must consistently produce what guests want to buy because they would otherwise go elsewhere. It also must be efficient, creating with minimal wasted resources. This is because margins in the industry are thin.
In some ways, Prowrap’s range of films, foils and parchments aren’t just for these lean, green, professional kitchens; they are for those with the kind of behind-the-scenes passion and attention to detail required to get there.
Although clingfilm may feel like a small detail in your kitchen and your overall sustainability journey, when you consider how much is used in daily prep and post-service storage, swapping to our range of products and dispensers is a good way to protect your food, reduce waste and preserve flavour.
Our products are designed to suit the day-to-day requirements of busy professional kitchens. The Prowrap film range helps to keep ingredients fresh, workspaces safe and reduce waste and environmental impact – one roll at a time. There are a range of refills that are fully compatible with our Speedwrap 300 & 450 dispenser, which offers a simple way to store and dispense the product- cutting down on wastage in the process.
In a sector seemingly in a permanent state of flux, our films, foils, parchments and dispensers still represent the easiest and most efficient way of preserving food and reducing waste.
Positively, sustainability is no longer a prerogative of those with the advantage of money and resources. Keeping a bespoke organic farm, buying inexpensive free-range meats, and maintaining high quality while serving a small number of covers, are rarities these days. It’s also a disservice to think only fine-dining palaces want to reduce waste and source local products.
The fact is that everybody should want to use up every piece of produce they can. It’s not as much about reducing waste as saving costs.
Remember the table bread and butter and the trimmings from meat and fish – so each portion looks perfect – that are discarded. You don’t see those too often! Tablecloths, cutlery and dishes were swapped out after each course, too.
I suppose what we’d caution against here is that if you’re a standard, everyday-type eatery, then your use of green products, recycling and clean ingredients mustn’t be overlooked.
Sustainability looks different for everyone. There are apps for fighting food waste by saving meals from the trash, and you can cater for later with leftover boxes or even donate unused, but still in date, food at the end of the day. But whatever its destination, whether you’re giving food one more chance of being eaten or if it’s being stored for future use, it will always need wrapping.
So, while the big players chase their lofty green goals, we mustn’t forget the more local establishments doing what they can with what little they have. After all, micro-actions can lead to macro changes.
To shop the full range of Prowrap films, foils & parchments, and to see how our Speedwrap dispensers can help you battle food waste in a single press, please visit wrapex.com.