As the concern for the environment grows, consumers are becoming more aware of the products that they support. People now try to think of their carbon footprint and try to lessen them as much as possible. They’re worried about plastics, the production of meat, waste, and a lot more.
47 percent of people on the internet reported that they stopped supporting a brand that went against their values. The leading reason was personal environmental advocacies. Today, consumers look for sustainability and eco-friendly in the labels brands.
Carbon Footprint of Food
The same support for sustainability applies to food. Vegans, for example, advocate for going meat-free because of the large carbon footprint caused by meat production. Beef is at the top of this list with 60 kilograms of greenhouse gases per kilogram (kg CO2-equivalents) of the product. On the other hand, plant-based products are significantly lower in emissions, as they only average at 6 to 7 kg CO2-equivalents per product.
Contributors to this number are land use, farming, animal feed, processing, transportation, retail, and packaging. Everything that is needed to keep these productions alive and bring them to the table creates emissions.
Self-sustaining Organic Restaurants
The food industry has found a solution to this by cultivating their own ingredients. Self-sustaining organic restaurants are slowly popping up. They have their own plantations in the backyard of their store where they can farm every day and fully sustain their menu.
It’s farm-to-table goodness in just a matter of minutes. Doing this already lessens the carbon footprint by eliminating transportation, processing, retail, and packaging.
Starting Your Own Self-sustaining Restaurant
Being an entrepreneur who is seeking to make a change in the start-up generation is completely possible. Utilizing your skills in food, business, and love plants can be combined in a self-sustaining restaurant.
Let Customers See the Garden
There are a lot of brands that put “sustainable” and “eco-friendly” on the label, but the truthfulness to it is doubtful. Green consumers know this, and they have developed some trust issues for these labels. On your end, to appease the consumers’ doubts, let them see the garden and how you cultivate your plants.
You can let them enter the luxury greenhouse and explore the different herbs you’re growing. You can also design the restaurant with a full glass wall facing the backyard, so they can see the entire beauty of the farm, irrigation, sun protection, and organic fertilizers included. The produce can also be indoor plants, so they can serve as part of the ambiance and interiors as well. This way, the consumers can really see where their food is coming from and that it is sourced sustainably.
Because you’re trying to lessen the carbon footprint on food, it is logical to give the spotlight to leafy greens for your menu. Today, it’s not just limited to salads. There are a lot of vegetarian recipes that range from risotto, pasta, rolls, etc.
Including meat on the menu is also possible, but it should be kept at a minimum. For example, it’s only an addition to the dish and not the star of the show. You can also limit the meats to pig and poultry since they have the littlest carbon footprint among the group. Fish and eggs are also a good option to have an animal-based source of protein in your menu.
Minimize Food Waste
If people finish all of their meals with an empty plate, 11 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from food will be gone. In the U.S., the emissions that come from food waste is worth 37 million cars. Globally, one-third of the world’s food goes to waste. This is a whopping 1.3 million tons of products that are spoiled before they reach the table or thrown away in establishments and homes.
As a restaurant that aims to make a change in sustainable practices, encouraging your customers to finish their food and order only what they can finish. This may come in form of constant reminders on walls, tables, the menu book, and the counter. If it were advertising, this would be called “aggressive marketing”.
It’s not only about the customers, too, because your kitchen should also practice this. When you’re starting out, it’s best to take note of your restaurant’s consumption of different food products every day. This way, you can estimate the number of ingredients you should farm throughout the day and adjust it as the business grows.
This industry is still growing and taking traction in the mainstream. Still, it helps to apply as much business expertise as you can but continue to learn in the process. One thing, though: Don’t forget to water the plants.