Footprint Blog


McZero?

Posted in News by foodservicefootprint on October 28, 2009

McDonald’s initiative to reach zero waste to landfill has reduced carbon emissions in waste management by 48% thus.

 25 McDonald’s restaurants have their waste collected by Veolia Environmental Services and sent to South East London Combined Heat and Power, an energy recovery facility. There it is converted into energy and channelled into the national grid.

 The scheme was piloted in Sheffield in 2007 and when independently audited by the Carbon Trust was shown to reduce carbon emissions from waste by 54%.

 The initiative is forecast to divert 2,500 tonnes of waste from landfill every year and will generate enough energy to power 22 million light bulbs for one hour – equivalent to supply enough light for one evening of light in every home in London.

Just form filling?

Posted in Comment,Food Miles,Sustainability,Sustainable Sourcing by foodservicefootprint on October 28, 2009

In a statement by Charles Clover on www.fish2fork.com regarding a bad rating the website initially gave two of Caprice Holdings’ restaurants, he writes: ‘We were previously critical of both restaurants [J Sheekey and Scott’s] for not providing enough detail in their online menus about the fish and seafood on offer’. It goes on to say ‘…we had to assess the two restaurants through what was available on their online menu’.

My initial thoughts were….hold on, if a restaurant does not supply the information required by the fish2fork team and does not make overt references to sustainability, local, organic, farmed etc on their communications, it thus gets badly rated? Does this reflect the reality of sourcing fish sustainably or is the website’s rating system flawed?

Caprice Holdings has challenged fish2fork.com and provided the required information. Consequently, the two restaurants’ ratings have subsequently been upgraded from red to blue.

Two espressos later I had to conclude that, yes, the industry is accountable. Yes, chef’s and restaurateurs are busy people but aren’t we all! With the threats that we are facing, it is foodservice’s duty to partake in such evaluations. Transparency is important and if certain aspects of sourcing need to be addressed within a business, it is these systems that will help restaurants to do so. www.fish2fork.com is not about naming and shaming, it is about leveraging restaurants to appraise their sourcing policies and sharing this information on the grounds that foodservice operations have a responsibility to the environment.

As much as you can eat and more…

Posted in Comment,Credit Crunch,Diet,Food Trends by foodservicefootprint on October 27, 2009
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Of course you can have more boy! And more and more and more...

In the news this week has been the success story of Whitbread’s gluttony restaurant concept, Taybarns.

Over the last 6 months, the ‘as much as you can eat’ chain has shown a 3% increase in sales, in marked contrast to the industry norm, and is now planning to roll out another 30 units.

Customers pay on entry – £5.99 during the day and £7.99 in the evening – and then have the opportunity to gorge themselves from a trough, sorry, food counter, longer than a standard cricket pitch! As Taybarns’ Operations Director Simon Ewins says, “People want to try new things. But if you go out on a Friday night and you try a new main course in a traditional restaurant and you don’t like it, that’s a disaster. At Taybarns you can just try something else or go back to your favourites.”

It is recorded that Taybarns customers eat 3.37 platefuls of food per sitting. One has to wonder how much food waste must result from this.

Well done Whitbread, though, for taking advantage of a market opportunity with immaculate timing. Great marketing – give the punters what they want, when they want it and more, more, more of it!

But doesn’t this once again highlight the contribution of foodservice to the obesity story; one that arguably had its roots in early 1970’s USA, but also one that demonstrates that commercial reality outweighs social conscience when it comes to perpetuating sales.

And how does this square with Corporate Social Responsibility? Whitbread’s ‘Healthier Lifestyles’ policy says ‘Our overall approach – based on extensibve (sic) customer research – is to give our customers a wide range of choices in the food and drink they order and the fitness programmes they follow.’ ..fitness programmes they follow…mmm.

Fishermen’s Tales

Posted in Comment,Provenance,Sustainability,Sustainable Sourcing by foodservicefootprint on October 26, 2009
'But I caught them over there.....honest!'

'But I caught them over there.....honest!'

Not long after the launch of online seafood restaurant guide, fish2fork.com, Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons has gone public with its sustainable sourcing policy. Owner Raymond Blanc’s iconic restaurant has posted a full statement on its website about its fish purchasing policy and is updating its menus to give customers more information about its seafood dishes.

The new website www.fish2fork.com is the brainchild of the team behind the film The End of Line, which addresses the crisis of diminishing fish stocks in our oceans. The guide scores the country’s fish restaurants, not on their food and ambience, but according to the degree to which they are contributing to the destruction of the world’s ocean ecosystems by serving endangered fish.

Integral to the fish2fork team is End of the Line’s author, Charles Clover. Interviewed by Foodservice Footprint, he was asked if he felt the out of home sector was doing enough to support sustainable fishing – “Absolutely not. I think we all need to sharpen up, but we are at the bottom of a learning curve on what can be done. People who source their fish in Europe need to be aware that many fisheries they take their fish from would be regarded as disaster areas in America. Cod and herring on the west coast of Scotland, for example, cod in the North Sea, though there has been a small improvement, plaice just about everywhere. In the US there would be closed areas and fishing with much more selective gears. If European regulators won’t make these things happen, then it is going to be consumers and the big players in the food industry who have to make them happen.”

In the foodservice industry, buying sustainably is all about the credibility of the supply source and operators should beware economies with the truth when it comes to supplier statements. All is not as it seems. Fish2fork’s grading system is flushing out the good, the bad and the ugly. At the very least, it will make operators a little more forensic when it comes to assessing supply sources.