Footprint Blog


Bluefin Tuna at Nobu

 

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Nobu has 24 branches worldwide but on the menu’s of its two London restaurants, Bluefin Tuna appears with the notice ‘Bluefin Tuna is an environmentally threatened species, please ask your server for an alternative’. Nobu is advising its customers not to eat it but is happy to serve it should diners demand it.

Apparently, being one of the more popular dishes at £32.50 a portion, one has to ask whether this ethic is somewhat ironic and actually displays a pseudo environmental consciousness. Furthermore, in light of the fact that Nobu’s menus do not carry the same warning in any of its other restaurants around the world, one wonders whether international operators feel they have to pay lip service to an enlightened British diner.

The other point is that Bluefin Tuna is not killed to order and presumably certain amounts of product would have to be supplied to serve possible demand, despite the warning on the menu. Therefore, the question is whether this warning has even the slightest positive impact on this endangered species. Without scientific fact to underpin my argument, I suspect not.

Why not scrap it? Would omitting Bluefin Tuna from its menu’s have an adverse effect on Nobus P&L?

M&J Seafood wins the Sustainable Future Award

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M&J Seafood were announced as the ultimate winners of the Sustainable Future Award at the Seafood Awards 2009, as the judges praised M&J for tackling the challenges of responsibly sourcing seafood, manifest not only to their business practices but their collaborative engagement at a wider level.

The judges were particularly impressed by M&J’s grass – roots commitment to sustainability, demonstrated by four of their initiatives: their Cornish albacore tuna, the British Skippers Scheme, their support of MSC certified products and their commitment to champion alternative and under-utilised species.

Mike Berthet, director of fish and seafood at M&J Seafood, who I have known for many years is a true ambassador to sustainability in foodservice and is someone who tirelessly tackles issues of huge importance to the industry.

Well Done M&J – much deserved!

Transatlantic Contrast

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Although here in Britain, almost all McDonald’s restaurants use free range eggs, with a plan to be entirely free range by 2010, its American counter part has been dragging its heels on the issue.

The Chicago based firm, which uses 3bn eggs a year is exploring alternatives to battery cage eggs and is experimenting with free range varieties.

Welcomed by animal rights groups, the move is manifest to the fact that in the UK foodservice does appear to be one step ahead and more importantly that animal welfare is prominent in the public’s mind and that operators will bow to pressure.

Support the Lincolnshire Sausage!

Posted in Government,Provenance,Sustainable Sourcing by foodservicefootprint on May 22, 2009

 

Lincolnshire Sausages

Footprint received an email today from the Lincolnshire Sausage Association, who are applying for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for Lincolnshire Sausages.  They have set up a No.10 online petition and some of you might like to give them your support by signing it. 

Accreditations such as the French AOC and the Italian DOC are successfully used to protect both the geographical heritage and the recipes of a raft of regional foods. Champagne, Parma Ham and Roquefort are just a few of the products that benefit from such protection in those countries.  A PDO, AOC, PGI or DOC legitimises the provenance and, by its nature, supports the local producers.

Jersey Royal potatoes, Arbroath Smokies, Whitstable Oysters and Cornish Clotted cream all have either PGI or PDO protection. Lincolnshire Sausages have a very strong case for joining them. At the moment anybody can make a sausage with any ingredients, anywhere, and call it Lincolnshire Sausage. Accreditation would guarantee the consistency, quality and provenance of this famous British regional food. 

The Association has  set up a No.10 online petition and we’d like to give them  The email reads as follows:

 Dear All,

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/LincsSausages/

I have set up a No 10 petition on behalf of the Lincolnshire Sausage
Association to support our application for protected Geographical Indication
(PGI) for Lincolnshire Sausages to ensure that Lincolnshire Sausages can
only be manufactured in Lincolnshire. 

Please would you support us by taking the time to sign up using the
following link:

         The petition reads:

     We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to support
     Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for Lincolnshire
     Sausages

     PGI status for Lincolnshire sausages would mean that they could
     only be manufactured in the historic county of Lincolnshire
     according to the specified criteria.  This would support the
     numerous small producers that we have in the county and prevent
     inferior products from reaching the market.    

Thank you in anticipation of your support,

Janet Godfrey

 Well done Janet! Get voting everyone!

Don’t Mention the War!

Posted in Comment,International by foodservicefootprint on May 15, 2009

The Germans have long been environmentally conscious. 20 years ago they were charging for plastic bags in supermarkets and vigorously recycling. As a nation, they have considered themselves champions of environmental issues long before it was on our domestic or political agenda.

On a flight back from Germany yesterday, having been to Munich to research an article we will be publishing comparing the continental environmental credentials to ours, I was reading Die Welt – I suppose the equivalent to The Independent. One of the headlines read ‘Self Proclaimed Role Model – The Greendex determines how environmentally conscious people are – The Germans are middle measure’ It immediately caught my eye as it struck me as unusual Teutonic humility.

‘The Germans’, the article starts ‘drink lots of water that they buy in bottles, they like to drive on their own and only a third of them are scared of climate change’. Great Lord, I thought, this really is unusual. The article then goes on to say ‘but on the other hand we insulate our houses, take our own bags to the supermarket and vigorously separate our rubbish for recycling’.

What seemed to annoy the author,  so subjectively is that on an individual basis, by international comparison, Germany seem to only occupy the global middle ground of ‘greeness’. This is according to the ‘Greendex’ published by the National Geographic Society. In this study, the NGS looked at 17 countries and conducted an online survey with around 1000 people per nation. But in doing so, exclaims Ulli Kulke, has only taken the opinions and lifestyles of the individual into account and has not considered governmental policy, or behaviour of the nation as a whole!

Great Scot, God forbid, Germans answering a survey on their own accord, expressing their own opinions, without taking centralised governmental policy into consideration. Whatever next!

It goes on…Spain (51.4) achieves more points than Germany (51.1), India (59.5) was the most environmentally friendly, followed by Brazil (57.3) and China (56.7). Bottom were Canada (47.3) followed by the US (43.7).

How can China achieve these results with all its polluting development, coal energy generation, motorway and damn construction projects, the article implies. Equally how can Brazil achieve these heights of environmental consciousness whilst happily destroying the rain forest for the production of Ethanol and Soya! ….It is not a wonder that due to raised petrol costs the Chinese have taken to car sharing …tropical countries don’t need heating systems and therefore insulation is superfluous…..Of course the scores are going to be better for those nations, as it does not take into account whether those countries compared are in the developed or developing world. Nor does it take sociological, cultural or geographical differences into account.

So, what set out to be humble reportage concluded in criticism of the survey in order to protect Germany’s Green integrity. To a degree I can understand the cynicism, but the point is, of course some of these results are ambiguous and surely every reasonably intelligent German will be able to conclude this on their own. The Greendex is not meant to be the international benchmark of who is the greenest, but is merely designed to give an insight into the shift of environmental consciousness.

Once again Germany has taken herself far too seriously and has proven a bad loser. I am just delighted that the British were not implicated. Obviously a slow news day in Germany!

Coke to Launch Bottle Partly Derived from Plants

Posted in Food Trends,News by foodservicefootprint on May 14, 2009
coca_cola_cupSource: Reuters
14/05/2009

New York, May 14 – Coca-Cola Co said on Thursday it has developed a new plastic bottle that is partly made from sugar cane and molasses, raising the bar in the battle for the most environmentally friendly packaging.

Coke will test the new bottle in North America with Dasani bottled water and certain carbonated brands later this year. The test will expand to the vitaminwater brand in 2010.

Up to 30 percent of the new “plantbottle” will be made from a material derived from sugar cane and molasses, which is a by-product of sugar production, Coke said.

Plastic bottles are made from a non-renewable, petroleum-derived substance.

Many large food and drink makers are looking to make their packages smaller and more environmentally friendly, especially since retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc introduced a “packaging scorecard” to rate suppliers on their ability to cut waste and conserve resources by reducing packaging.

Rival beverage makers PepsiCo Inc and Nestle are also introducing lighter-weight bottles that use less plastic.

Restaurant Groups Join FSA To Promote Healthy Eating

Posted in Comment,Economics,Foodservice Footprint news,News by foodservicefootprint on May 12, 2009

Announcement from the Food Standards Agency website www.food.gov.uk May 12th 2009

Some of the most well-known restaurant chains on the UK high street have agreed to work with the FSA to put healthy eating firmly on the menu for their customers.

PizzaExpress, Pizza Hut, The Restaurant Group (which operates Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito and Garfunkel’s), Tragus (which operates Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Strada) and the takeaway chain Domino’s have all agreed to provide commitments, which will focus on the range of healthier options available to their customers. The companies together operate more than 2,000 restaurants and takeaway outlets across the UK.

Although the commitments are different for each company, they share the aim of helping their customers enjoy a healthier, more balanced diet. The companies describe their progress to date and identify specific projects, which take into account procurement, menu planning, kitchen practice and consumer information. Each business will give the Agency a six month progress update.

Some of the measures announced today include:

  • salt reduction projects – this work includes finding ways to use less salt in pizza dough and training hundreds of chefs not to use salt in food preparation.
  • extensive work to collect full nutritional data for products and recipes (for restaurant groups with seasonally changing menus across many brands this involves thousands of products) – this data will then be used to help recipe reformulation and to provide more customer information
  • reviewing children’s menus to make them healthier, including using more ‘hidden’ vegetables in dishes and offering more fruit
  • working with suppliers to identify core products lower in saturated fat, for example to identify a lower-fat mozzarella cheese as a pizza topping or using lower fat dressings and milk
  • increasing the range of healthier options on offer, including more salads, soups, fish dishes, grilled foods and desserts with more fruit.

Progress described by the companies includes a 30% reduction of salt across the menu by one company since 2004, the introduction of a pizza with a cheese that contains one third less fat (than the standard cheese) and a 500 calorie pizza.

A number of healthier dishes have already been trialled extensively by some of the companies before being introduced. These trials show ‘health by stealth’ is being achieved – many of the changes to make meals healthier are not noticeable to customers, as they still taste as good but offer lower levels of fat, salt and sugar.

Dawn Primarolo, Minister for Public Health, said, ‘Tastes are changing and people want to eat more healthily. These commitments will help people make healthier choices and will go some way towards our aim to make healthy food the norm.’

Rosemary Hignett, Head of Nutrition at the FSA, said, ‘The commitments made by these well-known companies are good news for those of us who eat out and good news for public health. We now have more than 40 companies working with the Agency to ensure their customers can make healthier choices if they want to. We estimate this could benefit around eight million customers every day, which is clearly a significant achievement. We welcome all of the efforts being taken by these companies to help us all enjoy healthier diets.’

Also, joining the companies by publishing commitments today will be four coffee chains – Camden Food Co., John Lewis Partnership Cafés, Sainsbury’s Cafés and Upper Crust. Camden Food Co., Pizza Hut and Sainsbury’s Cafés are also working with the FSA to trial calorie labelling over the summer.

Healthy eating commitments have now been announced by major catering companies throughout the UK including workplace caterers, quick service restaurant, pub restaurant and coffee and sandwich shop chains. This means that healthier options are now more widely available to millions of consumers every day when they eat out, whether that is in a staff restaurant, a sandwich or snack on the run, or sitting down at a table for a meal in a restaurant.

New Social Contract For Green Business

Posted in Comment,Government,Sustainability by foodservicefootprint on May 11, 2009

The following article by Bob Lurie appears on the Harvard Business Publishing blog today. We feel it beautifully articulates the shift in emphasis required by business towards sustainable practices.

We’re in an interesting period in history when the relationship businesses have with society is undergoing a fundamental, permanent change. And sustainability, if not the epicenter of that change, certainly exemplifies it.

This new social contract will bring new demands and new relationships for business leaders to navigate around issues of sustainability and environmental resources. From my talks with corporate leaders, I can see that many companies are unprepared. Their corporate cultures, organizational capabilities and processes are not ready to support sustainability as central to their business. If firms don’t change, they will stumble into what will seem to them like unanticipated crises, episodes where they get into trouble time and again. It’s time to recognize the shift, make changes and deliver on both the responsibilities and opportunities that sustainable business practices represent.

Historically, the social license to operate or ‘contract’ has been an agreement between companies and government, the latter acting on behalf of the public. Some of these social contracts, such as those in highly regulated sectors like utilities or pharmaceuticals, are explicit, active, and central to the strategy and operations of the business. In these situations government is an essential actor, conducting a constant conversation with businesses about prices, product features or service terms, costs and the like; in turn, senior executives in these sectors devote considerable attention to embedding regulatory considerations into their business strategies, and managing their relationship with government agencies.

For the vast majority of firms, however, the social contract is implicit and inactive. Businesses do their best to follow the various rules set up by government regulators for everything from worker safety to payroll deductions. Senior management in these sectors does not look to have an active conversation with government; rather, their approach is simply that of static compliance — defined as meeting the requirements of these rules. Once new rules have been understood, and their costs and consequences established, they push responsibility for these activities down in the organization.

This is all changing — for both types of firms — and sustainability is at the center of the shift. One reason is the steady increase in the public’s interest in, and willingness to act on, sustainability, both as citizens and as consumers. Another, perhaps more important reason has been the rise of non governmental organizations (NGOs), like the Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy that are devoted to challenging and changing businesses practices with respect to the environment, and have the charters and the resources to persist in their mission over decades. For much of the past century, issue-oriented groups tended to be temporary, arising around a single piece of legislation, or correction of a particularly pressing social ill. Today, many NGOs are long-lived, robust, ever-active watchdogs and actors. They consistently step in, pressing business to change, even when current laws are being met and government’s attention is on other issues.

NGOs have pressed government and business to elevate their commitment to sustainability. Taken as a planet, our economies have a long way to go before we change our behaviors, before society and businesses have sustainable practices that make little or no impact on the global ecosystem. This quest will go on for many years — and it will influence the relationship enterprises have with government, NGOs and society at large. It will require more from businesses to meet these challenges. And most companies are not ready to deal with this reality.

Why are they so ill-equipped? Over the last 20 or 30 years, firms have, for the most part, put sustainability issues into “the compliance bucket.” They decided there was no advantage to be had from doing better on environmental issues than what the law required. Many corporations set up compliance organizations to meet established rules, and then went back to business as usual.

Business leaders today must recognize that being in compliance is simply not enough. Until leaders of a firm can say they are engaged in a process of continuous sustainability improvement — akin to continuous improvement and investments in other parts of their business — they are out of step with our changing world.

To overcome this challenge, business leaders will need to treat sustainability as a new dimension of their operating strategy — and not as a drag on their effectiveness. And they will have to end their fragmented treatment of sustainability issues, creating a high-level, centralized view of green business practices with associated responsibility and accountability to making measurable progress on articulated goals.

Because the nature of sustainability is never-ending, those goals will be a moving target. And because firms pursuing these goals will do so under a new social contract, they will be continuously monitored by people who are outside government, with motivation to inspect every aspect of your company’s green record.

For example, when Apple recently unveiled its latest MacBook computer notebooks, it took pains to shout they were green (The world’s greenest family of notebooks”). A website helpfully explains what they mean by this in terms of packaging, materials and energy use and includes a statement about Apple’s commitment to sustainability. That all sounds wonderfully responsible, but it could also be seen as a response in an ongoing dialogue with groups like Greenpeace, which in November ranked Apple below average in its guide to green electronics.

We’re entering a time in which moves like Apple’s are mere table stakes. The question will be not whether you are pursuing such programs, but how much you are doing — for your business and the planet. Don’t be surprised by the new demands.

Nearly zero waste Restaurant! What a great initiative

Courtesy of treehugger.com

Courtesy of treehugger.com

I remember how cynical the industry was towards such ideas less than 5 years ago. We predict this will slowly become the norm! Great effort and really good news. The waste issue is really being addressed by forward thinkers and traditional institutions alike! We really love the phrase Eco-Gastronomy…..

Oliver Rowe joins the effort by being the latest restaurateur to join Cawleys Waste Round, which is basically Zero Waste to landfill.

Worth exploring we feel. Have a look at the link below.

 http://www.cawleys.co.uk/news/Newsletter_Autumn08.php

To find out more about the rstaurants philosophy, please see link below.

http://www.konstam.co.uk/about_us.htm

Is Organic Food too posh, asks The Daily Telegraph!

The Daily Telegraph 09/05/09

The Daily Telegraph 09/05/09

I absolutely hate the use of the word posh in any context but this article published in The Daily Telegraph is definitely worth a read. Click on picture.

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