What's new to sustainability in hospitality

Posted on 04 march 2018

As society continues to learn about the growing need for sustainable and eco-friendly practices, the hospitality industry has come under intense scrutiny.

From packing to production, chemical cleaners to transport, the hospitality industry has a lot to answer for when it comes to helping create a healthier planet.

That’s the bad news. The good news is this: there are growing numbers of experts in Canada and around the world who are working hard to create sustainable solutions to issues common to the hospitality industry.

In this blog, we’ll explore some of the biggest and best new trends to emerge both locally and abroad you can explore and see if they are right for your business.

 

Fair trade/direct trade

Canada has over 7,000 labels that are Fair trade certified, which includes 131 coffee brands. Canada’s coffee shops and roasters are working to pave the way for establishing direct trade relationships with overseas suppliers, particularly those in vulnerable locations or production situations.

The promotion of ethical, fair trade produce in your business goes a long way. It means reaching out to local farmers and suppliers, and shortening the supply chain, but it also means adopting a ‘farm to plate’ narrative for your brand – a powerful attraction for a society awakening to sustainable living.

3D printed meat

3D printed meat is grown from beef stem cells that are then created into a 3D substance via a printer. 3D printers create objects by printing layers vertically to create a solid, three-dimensional structure using a variety of mediums. You can print in 3D using everything from plastic, metal, ceramics, or in this case, meat.

It looks, smells, cooks, and tastes like actual meat. However, don’t go expecting your 3D printed steak to have quite the same chewy texture as a steak – most 3D printed meat is quite soft, with a texture more similar to minced beef.

Global researcher Mintel named the ‘veggie forward’ movement a major player in their 2017 Global Food & Drink Trends report.

“The food and drink industry welcomes more products that emphasise plants as key ingredients,” writes Jenny Zegler, global food and drink analyst. “More packaged products and recipes for home cooking will leverage fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, botanicals and other plants as a way to align with consumers’ nearly omnipresent health and wellness priorities.”

In Canada, consumption of beef and veal has been showing steady declines. Food in Canada reports that, “...In 2015 Canadians were eating 24.4 kg of beef per person, per year versus 30.3 kg in 2005.”

And mock meat might be on your menu quicker than you think: Canadian company Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is experimenting with making ‘meat’ made from peas, soy and other crops.

Zero wastage recipes

‘Root to stem’ eating has taken over Canadian restaurants, looking to reduce produce waste and therefore produce costs. With ‘snout to tail’ cooking emerging as a major trend for 2016, innovation is using up parts of an ingredient previously considered rubbish.

Earth and City is a catering company based in Toronto. Since 2011, they have worked to keep sustainability at the core of their hospitality business, working tirelessly in ‘root to stem’ cooking that’s still delicious and appealing to customers.

Working with a seasonal menu, Earth and City promotes full-circle recipes such as turning juice pulp into cookies, or chickpea burgers with millet, or onion flatbread. They purchase only from local suppliers or harvest from their personal garden, and are therefore dramatically reducing their carbon footprint.

Flash freezing and cryovacing

In a bid to reduce wastage, many venues are flash freezing or cryovacing excess ingredients or produce that would otherwise need to be thrown out.

Flash freezing has long battled a reputation as being cheap, or low quality. On the contrary, beautifully fresh ingredients can be preserved and used at a later date. This particularly applies to expensive perishables that make up such a large part of restaurant and cafe wastage. So, do you have freezing capacity for extra ingredients? If not, it may be worth considering.

Similarly, cryovacing is a great way to preserve the ‘end bits’ of produce that would otherwise be binned. Think expensive cheeses, meats, salamis, pickled items, meat offcuts, or even stock – you can then store for use at a later date, or even sell in your retail offering to customers at a reduced price.

Green roof/on-site gardens

Another major emerging trend in the hospitality space is the innovative use of roof and grounds space for gardens. Dubbed ‘green roofs’, they provide added space so you can grow your own ingredients, as well as acting as natural insulation.

“A significant benefit of green roofs, walls and facades is the potential for reducing building heating and cooling requirements,” says Growing Green Guide.

“Green walls and facades can reduce heat gain in summer by directly shading the building surface. Green roofs reduce heat transfer through the roof and ambient temperatures on the roof surface, improving the performance of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.”

Promoting ingredients that you’ve grown yourself is another attractive prospect for customers looking for true organic food choices.

Toxic chemical-free cleaners

This may sound too good to be true, but there is a new, alternative that is taking the world by storm: electrolysed water. It is fast replacing toxic chemical cleaners as a healthy and safe sanitiser and cleaner.

In short, electrolysed water is produced by applying an electrical charge to a mixture of ordinary tap water and salt. Known as electrolysis, this process splits the mixture into positive and negative ions, creating two highly effective and remarkably safe solutions on opposing ends of the pH scale: alkaline for cleaning and acidic for antimicrobial sanitising. Sounds space age, but this technology is ready for you to use today, which means no more dangerous chemicals!

EnviroNize is one of Canada’s biggest suppliers of electrolysed water, and works extensively with the hospitality industry. Their clients are across Canada and North America, and they are EPA, FDA and Health Canada approved.

Swapping rubbish for compost

Recycling used to be as simple as splitting out your bottles and cardboard from, well, everything else. Masses upon masses of food waste was being shipped to landfill, missing a golden opportunity to be reused as nourishing compost.

Renewable décor

Lucky for the planet, rustic chic is making a comeback yet again in the hospitality sector. Renewable decor in the form of pre-loved furniture, building supplies, even caravans and food stalls are in vogue.

What is more sustainable than renovating, decorating, or building your venue out of reused materials?

Get creative and consider how your next venue makeover – or if you’re just get started, your new decor – can make the most out of beautiful vintage materials.

Hospitality always has and always will be a trend-driven industry. Thankfully, many of the new trends sweeping through aren’t just about delicious food or aesthetics – they’re about saving our planet with ethical and sustainable decisions. Make it your goal to try your hand at one of the new trends listed above.