Restaurants failing on British sourcing

Leading high street restaurant chains have been accused of failing British farmers after a survey found many serving lower welfare, imported meat.

Just three (Giraffe, Leon and Nando’s) out of 20 restaurants visited by the Soil Association for its latest Out to Lunch campaign offered 100% British meat with others importing meat from countries such as China, Brazil and Thailand.

When secret diners asked restaurant staff where meat on the menu was sourced from, 85% did not receive an answer.

“Shopping trends like the rise in the organic market and free-range eggs prove that the British public want to see high welfare, and care for the environment. It is time restaurants listened to their customers, and the needs of the planet, by looking to British farming, which has some of the highest standards in the world,” said Soil Association policy officer Laura Chan.

Restaurant chains received scores based on a combination of ingredient provenance, family friendliness, healthy options, food quality, value, and sustainability

JD Wetherspoon retained its spot at the top of the table. It scored highly for labelling the country of origin of meat on its menu and clearly showing how many portions of vegetables are in each meal.

Pizza Hut came bottom and was rated especially badly on healthy options with desserts high in sugar and calories and bottomless fizzy drinks on offer.

Two in five children’s puddings served by the 20 restaurant chains contained enough sugar to exceed a child’s entire daily allowance (19g) for four to six year-olds.

More positively, ten chains - Giraffe, JD Wetherspoon, Zizzi, Nando’s, Chiquito, Frankie & Benny's, Wahaca, TGI Fridays, Wagamama and Prezzo - have all pledged to work with their supply chains to ensure soya used as animal feed is from certified sustainable sources by 2023, while 16 chains also have policies in place to reduce antibiotic use on farm animals in their supply chains.

The Soil Association estimates that 1.6 million extra portions of veg are now being served to children every month due to commitments made by restaurant chains since the last Out to Lunch survey in 2019.

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