There are no two ways about it; the excessive, unsustainable production of food is gradually crippling our environment.
According to the Food Foundation’s 2022 Broken Plate report, greenhouse gas emissions from the food system will be four times greater than the level required to meet the UK’s net zero targets by 2050 if no action is taken to change how we make, transport and consume our food.
On an individual level, there are several ways to reduce the strain we place on ecosystems, whether that’s through a vegetarian or vegan diet, eating seasonal fruits and vegetables or buying consciously reared animal protein.
One tactic you may not have considered though, is sustainable food catering, an approach we adopt at Just Good Food.
By using seasonal produce, local ingredients, and ethical suppliers and reducing waste where possible, caterers can help limit the damage caused to our environment.
Making use of seasonal produce is one surefire way for catering companies to limit their carbon footprint and help customers eat in a better way.
When grown out of their natural seasons, crops need their ideal cultivation conditions to be replicated.
To achieve this, artificial heating and lighting, refrigeration and storage facilities are used, all of which require large amounts of energy and release harmful emissions in the process.
Seasonal produce is, therefore, a far more environmentally-friendly means of obtaining your ingredients and comes with the added benefits of being more abundant and tastier due to the plants’ growth in their preferred conditions.
To ensure we maximise our use of seasonal produce, we create our menus based on crop seasonality to the benefit of lowering our company footprint and ensuring the quality, range and availability of our ingredients.
If a catering business promotes its sustainability, then it should be buying its ingredients close to home where possible.
This is because the further our food has to travel, the greater the carbon footprint it generates.
For instance, food that has travelled by air produces about 11 times more carbon emissions than by road and 50 times more than by sea.
As a sustainable caterer, we source our fruit and vegetables from a local farm in the Vale of Evesham whose ethos of high quality, seasonal produce informs and enhances our menus.
Our meat and fish are also sourced locally from with three main suppliers located in Birmingham Wholesale Markets.
Who you buy your produce from is just as important as where and how you obtain it.
The large majority of meat purchased in the UK and around the world is produced by large meat processing companies such as JBS who deforest large amounts of land in order to feed and graze livestock.
Of the total global greenhouse gas emissions released from food production, almost half comes from livestock farming – a staggering percentage which hugely contributes to the climate crisis and decline of habitats and animal numbers.
Excessive demand for fish has caused similar problems with nearly 90 percent of marine fish stocks being fully exploited, overexploited or depleted, putting one third of all sharks, rays at risk of extinction and threatening the economic security of millions who rely upon depleting fish supplies.
To maintain our sustainable ethic, we work hard with our suppliers to ensure any fish we use does not contribute to the over-consumption of fish stocks and is caught using methods that do not harm or detrimentally affect other marine life.
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At Just Good Food, we are passionate about sustainability. For more information on how we continue to provide a sustainable catering service please click here.