The idea that your event food could be delicious, healthier and better for the planet is obviously an appealing one. If you’ve tasted organic, corn fed chicken and then compared with the cheapest basic chicken in a supermarket, you’ll know the difference. Or seasonal vegetables that grow well in the UK like asparagus, potatoes, kale and lettuce. They travel less, are grown naturally and taste more fresh and delicious.
Yes it’s true that organic often costs more. But there are also farmer’s markets and local suppliers that are likely to give a good deal based on buying in quantity.
And of course there are already event caterers that use only local, organic food and fairtrade teas and coffees. Ones that are serious about looking after the environment in as many ways as possible. Not only do they consider the type of food and drinks used, they also pay attention to packaging and the need to reduce it. With so much waste in terms of food packaging, the need to reduce it is bigger than ever before. The mantra with these types of caterers is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
With a comprehensive approach to waste management, it’s easily possible to recycle around 80% of waste and the rest can be taken to an Energy Recovery Facility like the one in Deptford where it is used to help generate electricity. Zero waste to landfill can be the first goal but with sustainability there is no end point when you can sit back and pat yourself on the back and think that you’ve done all you can. Any good sustainable company will be constantly looking for new ways to evolve and increase their efficiency. This is a good thing as it means there is always a challenge and very satisfying to see any improvements and continuing progress.
Seasonal food has seen growing popularity in recent years. This approach in event catering means less energy is needed to grow and transport the food cooked with. It’s more efficient than finding food that is not in season and has to travel great distances. The carbon footprint is further reduced when the suppliers for the catering company are really local also (butchers, fishmongers, bakers, etc.)
Ingredients can be sourced more carefully. Check the MSC website or the Greenpeace Seafood Red List for details of fish under threat, then don’t use these fish. Look for Red Tractor signs to show that meat has lived under minimum welfare conditions. If you can’t reuse all leftovers, you can use a food waste redistribution service to donate ingredients that would otherwise go to landfill post-market.
Another thing you can do is focus more on superb vegetarian and vegan food. Vegetarian food can be absolutely delicious and with its popularity also having grown and the fact that it’s far more sustainable than the excessive meat farming industry, it’s an obvious way to serve more eco cuisine. A lot of effort goes into the flavour and quality of a good vegetarian canapé and the results can be sublime. There can be more innovation sometimes than the tried and tested meat options. You don’t have to lose meat and fish altogether but they can be the minority of the ingredients, rather than the more common scenario of only a couple of veggie options. And if you’re concerned with not enough protein, experiment with nuts, lentils, quinoa, tofu and other such proteins.
Finally, take a closer look at packaging. Both in how you purchase your supplies of food and how you distribute it to and at events. Many event caterers as well as street food vendors are turning to environmentally friendly solutions such as compostable containers and specially designed, recyclable-friendly packaging. This includes renewable compostable cups, napkins and takeaway containers using plant-based materials. Wherever possible, avoid plastic altogether. This is easier than ever before, with so many other options available.
So there are lots of ways to make event catering more sustainable. It’s a case of exploring different options and finding the best solution. There’s never any need to compromise in quality. But there is more of a need to consider the impact large catered events are making on the environment and seeing how to be part of the solution.
If you are interested in holding a more eco-conscious event get in touch with us today.