March 12, 2024

Can Sustainability and Food Safety go hand in hand?

Previously, most hoteliers chose to think that hotels with strong food safety cultures cannot be sustainable. However, as consumers become more aware of their environmental impact, it became vital for food businesses to take a more sustainable approach. Not only does this benefit the planet, but it can also improve the bottom line for businesses. By implementing certain sustainable practices, food businesses can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and appeal to eco-conscious consumers. Additionally, sustainable practices can lead to cost savings through reduced energy and waste disposal costs. Overall, adopting sustainable practices is not only the right thing to do but can also benefit food businesses in numerous ways. There are many ways in which the food industry can be more sustainable; let’s take a closer look at seven excellent sustainable hygiene practices which any business can implement with the provision of reasonable recourses.

Practice 1 - Design menus with local products in mind

Sourcing food locally helps not only the environment by reducing carbon footprint but also the local economy by supporting small businesses. Plus, it's always nice to know where your food comes from and to have a connection to the community around you.

Practice 2 - Add more vegan and vegetarian food options to your menus and select organic food

It's not a secret that the production of red meat significantly contributes to carbon emissions and global warming. Hence, by introducing more plant-based options on your menus, we can help to mitigate the adverse effects on the planet. And when selecting ingredients for your vegan or vegetarian dishes, try to go for organic options for several reasons. Firstly, organic farming practices do not use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that can harm the environment and contaminate our food. By choosing organic food, we are supporting farming methods that prioritize sustainability and soil health. Additionally, organic food is often more nutrient-dense than conventionally grown produce, as it is grown in healthy, nutrient-rich soil. Finally, choosing organic food can help support local farmers who use sustainable farming practices and care about the health of their communities.

Practice 3 - Buy in bulk & look for suppliers who can provide more sustainable packaging

Purchasing items in bulk can drastically reduce the waste from discarded packaging. Also, when screening and selecting your food suppliers, include sustainability criteria in your questionnaire. Ask suppliers if they can provide you with reusable packaging or if they can take packaging back for reuse or recycling. Opt to reduce styrofoam boxes as it is not biodegradable and can take hundreds of years to break down, leading to pollution and harm to wildlife. There are eco-friendly alternatives to styrofoam that can be used instead to reduce waste and protect our planet.

Practice 4 - Eliminate single-use plastic

It may be challenging to completely eliminate all single-use plastic from food prep areas. Still, you can significantly reduce plastic waste by eliminating single-use plastic bags, substituting plastic piping bags with reusable and cleanable options, replacing PET water bottles with refillable glass or metal alternatives, and instead of cling film, you can go for durable food-grade containers with lids. And you can always look for a recycling partner to assist you with unavoidable plastic waste.

Did you know that more than 1.2 billion meters of cling film are used by households across the UK every year? It's enough to go around the world's circumference 30 times over! Horrifying numbers.

Practice 5 - The best straw is no straw!

Although there are many alternatives to plastic straws, and they might look entirely sustainable, but think about the resources involved in their production and transportation. That's why the best will be to say "no" to the straw altogether. And if you think about it, only several drinks require straws, so do not place them into your beverages by default; instead, ask the guests if they want a straw.

Practice 6 - Reducing Food Waste

Reducing food waste is an important issue that we should all pay attention to. Not only is it a waste of resources, but it also contributes to environmental problems such as greenhouse gas emissions.There are many ways to reduce food waste, such as proper planning of the menu, appropriate food handling and preservation, utilizing leftovers, and composting unavoidable waste. It's also important to properly store food to ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible. As you can see, implementing a Food SafetyManagement System, such as HACCP or similar, aims to reduce food waste by improving food handling practices.

Practice 7 - Reducing electricity & water consumption  

Any foodservice operation consumes a considerable amount of electricity and water, which is not only a cost to the company, but also a consumption of natural recourses. Hence, everyone should aim to improve their practices, for example, implementing an effective Preventive Maintenance Program, where all equipment is serviced regularly, or next time you select new equipment – get a durable and energy-efficient one. To reduce water consumption, you can install faucet aerators. These devices are easy to install, and they can help reduce the amount of water used while still maintaining good water pressure.

Change starts with you. It's a simple yet powerful statement that holds true in many aspects of life. Whether it's personal growth, business development, or environmental sustainability, change begins with each and every one of us. We all have the power to make a difference, no matter how big or small. It may seem challenging at times, but taking that first step towards change can lead to a ripple effect that spreads far beyond what we could ever imagine.

Written by
Viktoriia Lavrinets