Foodservice industry urged to cut meat, plastics and waste

Rosie Lintott 29th April 2019 (Last Updated April 29th, 2019 12:02)

The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) has published a report about the sustainability of the foodservice sector in the UK.

Foodservice industry urged to cut meat, plastics and waste
SRA report found that the foodservice industry needs to be more sustainable for the environment. Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

The UK foodservice industry needs to do more to support the environment, according to a report issued by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).

In the report the SRA urges businesses to join what it calls “the tastiest challenge on the planet” to tackle three major issues: the amount of meat is on menus, food waste and single-use plastic and packaging.

Since 2010 the SRA has been working with the foodservice industry to make it more environmentally sustainable. Currently there are 7,500 businesses in the UK working with the SRA taking steps towards sustainability.

SRA chief executive Andrew Stephen said: “The message is clear. Unless we fix food, we can’t fix climate change.”

The report found that UK businesses need to cut down on the amount of meat that is produced and consumed as meat and dairy production accounts for 60% of farming’s greenhouse gas emissions and 16.5% of total global emissions.

The report states that a third of food produced globally is wasted and it states that one million tonnes of food a year is wasted across the UK foodservice sector, with only 50% of SRA members having plans in place to tackle food waste within their business.

The report states that consumers in the UK use 4.7bn plastic straws, 316m plastic stirrers, 7.7bn plastic bottles and 2.5bn coffee cups a year. It states that only half of plastic bottles and less than 1% of coffee cups are recycled. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicted by 2050 there will be more plastic than marine life in the ocean.

Leon founder and DEFRA non-executive board member Henry Dimbleby said: “UK restaurants alone use a tiny amount of global resources, but their ability to make the weather and influence how people feel about sustainability and food is massive. And what we do, others in the world will follow.”