These days catering businesses are building sustainability into their processes, as much to protect themselves from the winds of globalisation and climate change as to make a moral stand. Here’s how you can make your food stall more sustainable.
Control your portion sizes. Food left on the plate often goes to landfill and generates methane as it decomposes (which is 20 times worse for the environment than CO2). Simple solution? Smaller portions.
Use seasonal produce. Seasonal produce is cheaper than out-of-season ingredients, tastes better and fresher and is good for the environment. Win win win.
Source sustainably and ethically. Check the MSC website or the Greenpeace Seafood Red List for details of fish under threat, then avoid! Look for Red Tractor signs to show that meat has lived under minimum welfare conditions and source locally produced fruit and veg to support your local independent economy.
Work leftovers into your menu! Whether it’s using discarded vegetable ends for stock, surplus meat for stews or vegetables for pickling, reusing leftovers is a money saver and waste-reducer.
Get composting. Did you know that by composting unusable food waste you can capture the methane by-product and turn it into fuel?! Ask your local composter if they’ll accept your biodegradable packaging with your waste food and be prepared to provide your own composting bin at markets where the organisers aren’t able to do so.
Turn your waste oil into fuel. These days there are lots of biofuel producers who will work with you to turn your waste oil into fuel to power buses, generators and much more.
Donate unusable food waste. Can you use a food waste redistribution service to donate ingredients that would otherwise go to landfill post-market? Try Eighth Plate, FareShare or The Real Junk Food Project.
Get your appliances serviced regularly. How else will you make sure they’re working at optimum efficiency? Be ready to replace inefficient equipment too.
Sign up to Takestock.com. It’s the eBay for unwanted food stock. If you’ve got more stock than you can use, simply auction it before it goes off.
Inspire your staff. Make sure they understand the importance of your sustainable practices and set the standards you expect whether you’re there or not.
And don’t forget to tell customers and organisers what you’re doing! These days, people like stuff like this. For more help, take the NCASS sustainability crash course, available at www.ncasstraining.co.uk.