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Sustainability in Foodservice

06/02/2014

Sustainability in Foodservice

Today’s foodservice operator faces the difficult, ongoing challenge of driving traffic and controlling costs in a highly competitive environment. In this environment, food and beverage quality, competitive pricing, attentiveness and speed of service, and cleanliness have become table stakes. As such, operators are aggressively seeking impactful points of differentiation. Being able to execute and communicate a well-defined sustainability program and its benefits to the foodservice patron may very well prove to be such a differentiator in the future. 

Consumers want to make a difference and reward operators that engage in important sustainability efforts. But, quite frankly, most consumers do not understand many of the complex sustainability issues that are relevant to foodservice operations. Still others want operators to make any patron contributions to sustainability initiatives very easy (e.g., having two waste bins – recyclable and non-recyclable – not five bins requiring careful separation). But, today, consumers’ leading criteria for where to purchase food continue to be quality, price, convenience, and other traditional factors. However, when operator sustainability initiatives enter the collective consumers’ top 6 or 7 criteria, as expected, the benefits of having a comprehensive sustainability program will become more pronounced to suppliers and operators. And suppliers and operators, through consumer awareness and education, will have the ability to make sustainability a stronger consideration. 

With greater consumer consideration, foodservice suppliers will be able to show operators that sustainability initiatives have tangible benefits to the consumer. It will be these tangible benefits that demonstrate the potential profitability that operators can achieve by purchasing sustainable menu items and supplies for their businesses. This, in fact, is an important takeaway from this white paper briefing - that operators’ willingness to purchase sustainable products is dependent on their recognizing the operational and fiscal advantages of doing so. In short, sustainability is a societal, environmental, and economic issue for foodservice operators– and not necessarily in that order. 

Click here for a comprehensive whitepaper developed by Georgia-Pacific Professional regarding this important issue.

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