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Eco-friendly catering will safeguard the future of the industry

Julie Coates-Walker, head of commercial sales sports and confex  Levy UK&I says eco-friendly catering will help the events industry become more sustainable. 

With climate change becoming one of the most important issues of the twenty-first century, coming up with innovative solutions will continue to set agendas of governments and businesses alike for years to come. 

In order to keep pace with a rapidly-evolving set of circumstances, the hospitality industry must respond to the continuation and in some cases, the acceleration of existing trends that were already underway prior to the pandemic.

The rise of plant-forward diets, for example, is a social phenomenon that will play an important role in securing the future of the industry going forward. Applying a modern approach to corporate catering is crucial, not only to reflect the changing habits and attitudes of diners, but to ensure that sustainable choices are accessible at business meetings and conferences.

Mindful Meetings

When it comes to sustainability, treating consumers with respect is essential, which is why greater transparency is needed across the industry to ensure that diners are provided with the information required to make responsible decisions that are right for them and the planet.

Our recent launch of the Mindful Meetings menu system marks the latest industry innovation that gives consumers the opportunity to take control of their personal environmental impact.

Designed in partnership with Oxford University, this system includes LEAP eco-labelling, a colour and letter coded accompaniment to every dish on the menu which provides diners with clear and concise rankings of their respective environmental impacts.

The scoring system also accounts for factors such as greenhouse gas emissions, water scarcity, pollution and biodiversity loss. When consumers are equipped with knowledge and information, they often make better choices. Therefore, educating them must be a key priority for the industry.

Seasonality and provenance

Sustainability works best when it’s considered within the wider context of seasonality and local provenance. Menus will need to be consolidated around more locally sourced produce that hasn’t been transported thousands of miles from farm to fork.

By committing to using 80% British-grown ingredients, Levy is able to use seasonal produce to create dishes with lower carbon footprints.

Just as consumers are encouraged to shop locally and support small business, the hospitality industry must lead by example by forging closer relationships with local manufacturers and suppliers.

Customer and environment balance

While it is essential that eco-friendly dining does not compromise on taste, it is equally important for the hospitality industry to meet the ever-growing demands of businesses.

Designing experiences that benefit customers as well as the environment will therefore be crucial going forward.

For example, the creation of dishes which prevent the post-lunch slump (by expertly balancing protein-to-carbohydrate ratios and using ingredients that promote cognitive function) and the implementation of water stations to promote hydration during the working day, are just a few of the steps that we are taking to ensure that we satisfy the needs of businesses while protecting the planet.

In many ways, these developments are indicative of a gradual transformation that is taking place within corporate catering, and the hospitality industry more generally.