Foodservice businesses that meet growing demand for more sustainable menus stand to grow future revenues and profits, a new report has found.
The Catering for Sustainability report, jointly produced by WWF-UK, Sodexo UK & Ireland and the Food Ethics Council, said that businesses that provide a greater range of sustainable menu choices, including more plant-based options and higher welfare meat, could expect to enhance their brand reputation, win new customers and improve staff motivation and retention.
However, although a small minority of foodservice companies are operating to the principles of a sustainable diet, the majority were found not to be offering sustainable menus and the report identified confusion over what a sustainable diet means in practice.
The report was published alongside a survey that found a growing consumer demand for meat-free and ethical menu choices, especially among millennials (aged 18 – 34 years old). Half of millennials said they are more likely to eat out in venues where they are told about where the food on their plate comes from, while 53% are more likely to eat at a restaurant, café or canteen if meat has been reared to high animal welfare standards. One in five would like to see restaurants offer an entirely meat free day.
“Our research shows that foodservice companies stepping up to the plate and offering ‘better’ sets of choices to customers are likely to be more profitable in the long run,” said Dan Crossley, executive director of the Food Ethics Council.