An increasing number of consumers are becoming more conscious about their own consumption habits regarding food. This is something the food service industry should be aware of when making business decisions. Practicing social responsibility can make a big positive impact on the environment and reduce the overall footprint from businesses. Reducing water usage, sourcing sustainable and ethical products and ingredients, and striving to accommodate different diets are some ways that foodservice businesses can cater to a responsible eating culture. Below are some examples of ways food businesses can achieve these goals.
- Source Coffee as Fair Trade
Supporting ethical coffee growers by purchasing fair trade coffee sends a good message to customers about what type of business it is and what operations they support. The coffee industry often uses exploited labor to manufacture its products. Many businesses unknowingly support a practice that does not align with their business values. Making this switch could paint businesses as a more ethical and socially responsible place to get food.
- Use Less Water
Another way food service businesses can help the planet and conserve their own resources is to find methods of production that use less water. Operating costs as well as environmental impacts are influenced by businesses’ water usage. According to the EPA, 52% of restaurant water usage is for dishwashing. These businesses can try to upgrade equipment like dishwashers, ice machines, and steamers to energy saving and water saving models that reuse water between cycles. Another way is to make the dishwashing process itself the most efficient it can be. Making sure to spray pans with pan release spray in order to spend less time rinsing food scraps off pans and trays will enhance the efficiency of operations while using less water washing dishes. PLZ Corp can produce non-GMO sprays for businesses to make sure all creations contain no GMOs while providing the consistent release necessary. Prepping pans before cooking can save time, labor, energy, and water in the long run thus saving these businesses money.
- Buy Local Produce
Partnering with local farmers and other local markets to source produce is one way to minimize impact and cater to the increasing desire for social responsibility in eating culture. Imported produce often uses more water to grow and more labor to package and ship than local produce. For example, a pound of tomatoes requires about 20 gallons of water to grow. Along with the environmental benefits, local fruits and vegetables tend to have more nutritional benefits as well because they are picked at peak freshness. Switching to using local produce can provide businesses a unique opportunity to establish themselves as a stronger contributor and supporter to their community.
- Provide More Vegetarian and Vegan Options
Restaurants, dining halls, and other businesses updating their menu to include various dishes without including meat is also a way to save water in the long run. Meat production uses a lot of water (about 400 gallons per pound) and land that causes severe stress on the environment. Many consumers are choosing to switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet to help with their individual diet’s impact on the planet. The food service industry can help themselves by catering to this demand and putting more dishes on the menu without meat to reduce the restaurant’s impact.
These are only a few ways to help make businesses more socially responsible in its choices in suppliers, products, and operations.