Products of animal origin are one of the leading causes of deforestation, water consumption and greenhouse gasses (GHG) emissions. A plant-based diet and cuisine is an efficient alternative to improve the life quality of our planet and each human being. The choice of the restaurant suppliers (producers and distributors) usually takes place following price and quality criteria, excluding Eco-compatibility. As far as farming and manufacturing are concerned, the use of techniques and instruments polluting the environment, such as pesticides, is frequent. Regarding the food distribution suppliers with high emission levels and unsustainable resource consumptions, are often preferred due to their convenience. Selecting the right supplier, it would be appropriate to introduce tools that are already in the catering industry, but rarely used. Possible solutions might be the carbon footprint determination, life cycling assessment, 0 km food, local and Eco-friendly suppliers, a short distribution chain and on-site production. To reveal the origin and characteristics of raw materials is often overlooked yet essential.
Providing transparency of the product’s origin could encourage to build a customer environmental awareness and a strong customer-restaurateur relationship. In the catering industry it would be easy to achieve this goal through information on the menus or creating initiatives dedicated to this purpose within the structure. Transparency also affects health and hygiene procedures not always properly followed. For this reason, an open kitchen, in accordance with laws, proves to be an effective solution and gives the customer the opportunity to monitor the restaurant’s compliance with the rules. Another recurring oversight in the catering industry is related to the use of polluting and non Eco-friendly equipment. To counteract the excessive use of paper and plastic for packaging, dishes, kitchen utensils, napkins, and menus, the Sonflour project includes the use of new natural and non-polluting material such as bagasse, bamboo pulp, stone paper and Eco-friendly detergents. An additional responsibility of the restaurateur should be an effective wastage control. The wastage derives from an excessive use of raw materials, inadequate techniques of food preparation, overproduction and insufficient attention for stock control. A proper staff training, organic waste composting, correct recycling and the opportunity of donating the food that is left over, are the most suitable and appropriate solutions to oppose this frequent inadequacy. Furthermore, it is necessary to highlight that the restaurant shouldn’t be considered simply a place to eat but a strong territorial reality, dedicated to a process of continuous growth of the city, promoting cultural activities and events aimed at schools and citizens for an environmental and food awareness.
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