The Sustainable Restaurant Association’s (SRA) project aims to address the low levels of consumer satisfaction with the social and environmental impact of food on offer in UK restaurants.

A thousand restaurants and high-profile chefs including Skye Gyngell and Chantelle Nicholson will kick off the One Planet Plate campaign on Saturday (24 March) by highlighting the sustainability credentials of one recommended dish on each menu.

SRA president Raymond Blanc OBE stressed the importance of “helping people understand what sustainable food looks, smells and tastes like”. The chef’s own Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons restaurant in Oxfordshire has served dishes made with vegetables grown in the kitchen garden for more than three decades.  

“By highlighting dishes that capture this ethos One Planet Plate will enhance diners’ experience and help them put their passion for good food into action,” Blanc said.

Simple signposting

Diners can find restaurants serving a One Planet Plate on a dynamic map on the campaign’s website, which also provides dozens of recipes shared by chefs that are design to eliminate waste.

The campaign launches after two consumer surveys revealed the difficulty for consumers to choose confidently when looking for a sustainable dish. Just 20% of those asked by restaurant guide Harden’s said they were satisfied with the ethical performance of the food in the places they have eaten recently, with even fewer (17%) content with its impact on the environment.

Meanwhile, almost nine out ten (86%) of those questioned said they thought restaurants should focus on creating a menu that helps them make sustainable choices. Another survey by the National Union of Students provided similar results.  

SRA’s chief executive Andrew Stephen called on restaurants to signpost the most sustainable dishes on the menu. “Our consumer surveys clearly demonstrate that diners are crying out for some simple signposting to help them.

“One Planet Plate gives chefs the chance to draw attention to one damned delicious dish that epitomises their ethos, and choosing it is a vote for the food future you want to see.”

Good to Go

In related news, a doggy bag scheme in Scotland has witnessed a surge in participation from hospitality businesses. Aimed at tackling the estimated £64m worth of leftover food waste in Scottish restaurants, the ‘Good to Go’ scheme has seen 42,000 boxes go into circulation in the last 12 months.

The number of hospitality firms taking part in the scheme has risen by more than 100% in that time period.

“Good to Go has demonstrated the tremendous appetite for doggy bags – not just from consumers but from restaurants who have found, through our hugely successful trials, that it enhances their customer service and helps them monitor and deal with food waste,” Zero Waste Scotland’s chief executive Iain Gulland said.

“It’s good for the bottom line, and great for the environment, as tackling unnecessary food waste is one of the most important things we can do to tackle climate change.”

George Ogleby

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