According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, if food waste were a country, it would have the third largest emissions in the world. Here, at Eat to the Beat, we find that a crazy figure to comprehend, but one nonetheless that we, as a responsible caterer, are aware of.
One third of the food that is produced – that’s 1.3 billion tonnes – is lost or wasted. It means that roughly eight per cent of global emissions are a result of food waste.
Recent statistics have bolstered the belief that what we eat is having a major impact on our climate and there is much evidence to suggest that the destruction of rainforests to make way for agriculture, and a growing demand for meat, contribute to the world’s greenhouse gas problem.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends a reduction in meat consumption and says that plant-based diets should be seen as a major opportunity to make a difference.
In 2018, the UK was the nation with the highest number of vegan food product launches, which signals a growing market, flexitarianism – those who follow a plant-based diet with the occasional inclusion of meat – is on the rise and Lewis Hamilton’s endorsement of Beyond Meat – producer of plant-based meat substitutes – has propelled the brand. So why is an international catering expert, with a Buckinghamshire base, talking about food, the environment and climate-conscious meals?
If there’s one thing that years of experience has taught us, we love a challenge and an opportunity to showcase what our great chefs can really do.
Since spring 2019, when filming for the latest series of Tipping Point, Tipping Point Lucky Stars and the Crystal Maze started, we have been showcasing our sustainability initiatives in tandem with the shows’ producer, Fizz.
Fizz, the entertainment arm of RDF, produces the shows for ITV, which has signed up to the Albert Initiative. This promotes the active reduction of a film or television production’s carbon footprint, including food.
The Albert Initiative encourages film and television producers to think about what food is served to cast and crew, and how. Plus, it looks at how sustainable practices can be featured within television programming, normalising eating habits through content. This is interesting, as recent research from Mintel said that 34 per cent of meat eaters reduced their meat consumption in 2018. There’s no denying that it’s definitely a growing trend.
From March until July, we supplied catering services on set at Tipping Point and Lucky Stars, using paper disposables and compostables from Vegware. Also, Fizz provided us with meal numbers so that we could estimate headcount accurately and minimise food waste.
At The Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol, we introduced Meat Free Monday menus that featured delicious meals, inspiring people to enjoy sustainable food. Dishes included squash, black eyed bean and coconut curry, BBQ pulled jackfruit, tofu pad Thai, beetroot and quinoa burgers and sticky mango paneer skewers, as well as locally-sourced fruit, vegetables and salads and a vast selection of cakes and sweet treats.
But our green crusade did not end there. We also ensured food compost bins were placed prominently, branded mugs were given out to crew (which they were allowed to keep), water was local and polystyrene was banned. In fact, the water came from Glastonbury and our wholesale fruit and veg was sourced from Bristol.
We believe it’s important to consider the environment when making choices around food. With so many more organisations getting involved and spreading a sustainable message, we also believe that this trend will only get bigger.
Just last month, the UN’s ActNow campaign shone a spotlight on world-class chefs who are cooking with ingredients that can help reduce greenhouse gases. Therefore, think of the impact that an entire industry – such as events, festivals and film and television production – can have if it commits to sustainable food sources and a meat-free meal every week.
ActNow aims to inspire people to shift away from “meat-heavy” meals and fast food and to adopt a more climate-conscious approach to eating. We will continue to work with organisations to help them make the right food choices for their tour, television production, film, festival or event. We would be interested to hear your views on meat-free meals. In fact, we could ask: “Where’s your tipping point?”