Sustainable food production and sourcing is not a new concept anymore. This trend is on a rise in the hospitality industry and it has cultivated an interest for foodies and managers alike. Sustainable food production and consumption have the benefit of reducing environmental impact, and it also helps support local communities and build stronger consumer loyalty.
Here, we’ll look at the three trends in sustainable food experiences from the local sourcing of products to urban farming to zero-waste creations. These trends together are setting the scene for the future of an innovative sustainable dining experience.
What is “sustainable food”?
Many restaurants and businesses have been restructuring their business practices by following the trend of sustainability to implement changes in their production methods, supply chain and even packaging. Sustainable dining has 3 main core values: they are organic, circular, seasonal and local not to mention vegetarian and vegan.
Sustainable innovation is smart food sourcing, food waste reduction and self-sufficiency, which may be mentioned in latest menu concepts. These practices, among others, can be labeled as sustainable, circular or environmentally friendly.
Now, let’s see how the following three trends are looking forward to being implemented in the food and hospitality industry.
1. Supporting Local Producers
Sourcing ingredients from local farmers and producers is the foundation of providing sustainable food options. Sourcing products locally helps in reducing the impact of CO2 emissions that come from long-distance transport of produce and food products.
Initiatives followed by hotels like the Hilton San Diego and Hilton San Francisco Union reduce their environmental footprints by providing locally sourced items while preventing food waste. Big breakfast buffets and events usually result in leftovers and half-eaten meals, typical of hotels, and all, unfortunately, contribute to food waste. These hotels have come up with strategies to reduce their food waste through smart and local purchasing, composting, and food recovery programs.
Keeping the trend of providing locally sourced nutritious and sustainable green and vegetarian options to hotel and restaurant menus is a great way of supporting local business. Buying in bulk from local producers can lead to lower operational costs, which is a win-win for the environment, the local community, and your business.
2. From the Farm-To-Table
In other words, urban farming has taken off during the pandemic sparking the trend of self-sufficient food sourcing. Urban farming can be categorized as growing herbs, veggies, and fruits right on site, at your restaurant or hotel.
For example, in Tokyo, mini urban farming cubes provide a functional habitat supplying an adjacent restaurant with produce for their kitchen. People who visit this restaurant are delighted when they see the process of how vegetables grow right from their table, bringing them close to the production experience.
Similarly in Copenhagen, a farm co-op, Østergro, has swapped their rooftop bar for a rooftop garden. The organic produce that is harvested goes straight onto the seasonal menu at the restaurant Gro Spiseri, providing organic vegetarian breakfast options with menus designed with winter or summer themes.
Depending on your climate, you can choose to grow seasonally or year-round from plant stems or seeds on your rooftop or in an allocated space. The new farm-to-table concept is for city dwellers who are looking for a sustainable menu and unique story to your offerings.
3. Zero-waste creations/reductions
There are a lot of creative solutions for zero-waste that have recently been incorporated into restaurant and bar menus including turning food scraps into delicious and interesting recipes, giving them a second life.
The zero-waste movement works through saving the “ugly” produce. After finding out that millions of pounds of watermelon were disposed into fields to rot because of being judged as “too unattractive” for sale, the founders of Wtrmln Wtr decided to create a product that could help avoid waste by using the ugly watermelon into juice. Sales rocketed as a result of their innovative approach and marketing.
Another interesting example is ReGrained. When grain is made into beer, the brewing process takes out sugar—leaving behind protein, fiber, and micronutrients. ReGrained takes these byproducts and turns them into a flour called “SuperGrain+” which is then incorporated into items like snack bars. The company also sells the flour to other manufacturers and is currently working on launching other unique products.
Giving repurpose to the byproducts into zero waste food and drinks is not only creative and authentic, but also can provide another revenue stream for producers. Which is beneficial for people and the planet alike!
The hype around sustainable food is only expected to expand. Therefore, it is important to keep up with these trends and incorporate them into your life.