The concept of sustainability is still an emerging trend in the produce industry, but initially, the retail world appeared a little quicker to embrace the concept than its foodservice counterpart.
Granted, retailers seemingly have the advantage – they are perceived as more of a food source, where the consumer has full ownership of purchasing decisions, and can more easily promote sustainable products.
However, the foodservice side appears to be gaining momentum in the sustainable realm.
The most recent example being Green Seal’s new Environmental Standard for Restaurants and Foodservices, or GS-46. See Article
The seal was achieved through a life-cycle study focused on the environmental consequences wielded by restaurants – an initiative that garnered widespread support from the restaurant industry – and the study looked at various areas within restaurant operations that affect the environment. The study’s results are purposed to assist restaurant operators in identifying where to direct their environmentally friendly efforts, particularly in food purchasing and food waste reduction.
Tremendous news, considering food production generates between 17-32% of all human-sponsored greenhouse gas emissions, according to information from Green Seal
At the same time, green restaurants aren’t new news. Quite the contrary – significant strides have been made throughout the years. Chefs like Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse, and Dan Barber, of Blue Hill Farms, are two vocal pioneers in the sustainable, environmentally friendly restaurant movement, celebrating the importance of farm to fork and locally grown ingredients and raising awareness about gastronomy and educated food choices.
The new standards, however, highlight the entire restaurant industry’s commitment to sustainability, by providing guidelines that make it easier for operators to implement green changes.
In addition to restaurants, numerous universities and hotels also are sustainably adjusting their operations, evident by their newfound demand for more locally grown, organic products.
Foodservice distributors have risen to the occasion, as well, with operators like SYSCO, U.S. Foodservice, Aramark and others, have launched sustainability programs within their respective companies.
The entire foodservice supply chain appears to be taking sustainability seriously, which is a welcome sign, as it’s a trend that will likely become the norm in the very near future. Perhaps the Green Seal’s Environmental Standard for Restaurants and Foodservices will serve to speed up the process.
As farmers at Christopher Ranch, we are huge proponents of local, fresh and sustainable products, and we laud the efforts of both foodservice and retail.