Sustainable Food Trends & Why Restaurant Owners Should Follow Them

Jan 16, 2014 10:00:00 AM

As the economy continues to improve, and people have more money to spend, everyone gains the luxury of being choosy about where they shop, dine and spend their recreational time. For those that care about the environment, having this luxury means being able to choose businesses based on how they treat the world around them.

"Going green" is becoming more popular by the day, and therefore, restaurant and coffee-shop owners who are trying to promote a green brand have more competition than ever. Success takes a real understanding of how to be sustainable and the willingness to go the extra mile to make it happen. This means staying up to date on the latest issues, trends and practices when it comes to running a green business.

1. Taking 'Local' to a New Level

If the business is on its own plot of land or has available rooftop access, then the option of setting up a local garden will be possible. Buying from local farmers has always been popular for many good reasons: it saves money, it cuts down on the fossil fuels required to ship produce long distances, and it makes the business more honorable in the eyes of environmentally-friendly customers. However, now the trend is being taken even further, with everything from micro-greens to fresh tomatoes being grown in roof-top gardens or lofts.

2. Using the Entire Animal

It's naturally more sustainable to serve vegetarian fare, but for restaurant owners who are looking to become more sustainable and take care of meat-eating patrons at the same time, serving meat dishes that make use of the entire animal is becoming more popular. Items such as hot dogs, sausages and stews can all be made using the organs and other parts of the animal that most chefs probably won't want to describe in detail on the menu. It may seem a bit gross to some, but making use of the entire animal is the best way to reduce waste and respect the life that was sacrificed.

3. Remembering the Bar

If the restaurant has a bar, the owner has an opportunity to jump on board with one of the latest trends in sustainability: organic alcohol. For those who don't often drink, it may seem silly to worry about the small amount of pesticides that might be found inside a bottle of wine, but purchasing organic alcohol has implications that reach much farther than the body of the individual. Much like other organic products, organic wines and spirits must be produced using methods that don't cause damage to the air, soil or water. By committing to sustainable, organic alcoholic beverages, the restaurant owner demonstrates a true passion for his or her role in a healthier planet.

Being sustainable isn't always easy, and many restaurant owners look for areas they can cut corners. However, at the end of the day, owning a business is about more than a paycheck. It's an opportunity to make a difference and create a more sustainable world for the future members of society. When put that way, it makes sense for all restaurant owners to do everything in their power to be sustainable.

Ken Jacobus

Written by Ken Jacobus

Ken Jacobus is CEO and founder of Good Start Packaging. He works with restaurants and other organizations around the U.S. to help them find the best sustainable alternatives to traditional plastic take out food containers. When not busy trying to eliminate landfills and plastic, he hikes, bikes, skis, reads, and plays with his family around his home in southern New Hampshire.

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