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Musings on the Foodservice Industry

Restaurant Sustainability Trends for 2020

Mar 24 2020

Restaurateurs have long led the way when it comes to the adoption of sustainable practices, both out of pragmatism and to minimize the impact of food production on the environment. In 2020, restaurants will continue to move beyond standard measures like cooking oil recycling towards changes that ripple out across their value chains. And these changes will undoubtedly catch the attention of the increasingly conscious consumer, converting them into brand advocates and customers for life.

Here are five restaurant sustainability trends to look out for in the coming year:

1. Eco-Friendly Design

Restaurants are now being designed to reduce energy usage and minimize waste — from the use of eco-friendly building materials and implementation of construction practices that reduce the harmful effects of building on the environment, to features that promote efficiencies, such as water-saving plumbing fixtures and energy-efficient lighting. Even site location is optimized when designing new restaurants in order to maximize natural sheltering, winds and sunlight.

2. Local and Sustainable Sourcing

The origin of foods and whether they have been ethically and sustainably produced are becoming important factors when deciding on which vendors to partner with. Restaurant managers are focused on reducing food miles and investing money back into their communities, as well as aligning with vendors who have a similar approach to sustainability, which includes:

  • Protecting and preserving the environment
  • Promoting social equity
  • Enhancing the lives of people and their communities
  • Contributing to economic prosperity

3. Plant-Based Food

According to the National Restaurant Association, the demand for plant-based proteins will continue to grow into 2030.

Furthermore, insights from the Plant Based Food Association show that approximately 30% of Americans are cutting back on meat and dairy, with 52% of consumers opting for plant-based foods because they prefer how it tastes. Other reasons include health (39%), environmental impact (13%) and animal welfare (11%).

Restaurants are responding to consumer demand by building their menus around plant-based proteins and other foods, which have a lower environmental impact than meat and other animal products.

4. Single-Use Materials

As cities enact bans on single-use packaging in restaurants, and as consumers become more waste-conscious and plastic-averse, restaurants are following suit. Measures that they are taking include:

  • Eliminating single-use plastic
  • Opting for paper, bio-degradable and recycled materials
  • Using only reusable dishware and cloth napkins for guests dining in
  • Making disposable items like drink stirrers available on request only

5. Conscious Marketing

Finally, restaurants are engaging in conscious marketing to better reach conscious consumers, and to introduce other potential visitors to the concept of conscious consumption. From advertising campaigns that communicate their key benefits, to sharing their efforts and awards on their websites, menus and throughout their restaurants, restaurateurs are prioritizing the promotion of their hard work.

Visit our blog to learn more about other restaurant trends of 2020.

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