Diners willing to pay more for sustainable meals


Industry survey finds restaurants are ‘drastically underestimating’ the importance consumers attach to food waste








Diners are happy to pay up to 10 per cent more at restaurants sourcing sustainable food and recycling their food waste, according to a recent industry survey.

A poll of 1,000 people by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) found more than half would be prepared to pay a premium for their meal if they knew the restaurant was investing in reducing its environmental impact and taking its social responsibility seriously. And 43 per cent of respondents would be prepared to pay up to 10 per cent more for a meal in a sustainable restaurant.

Customers also expect more expensive restaurants to be performing better on sustainability and feel restaurants do not tell them enough about the things that matter most to them.

When asked what they considered to be the top three sustainability priorities for restaurants, 53 per cent identified the problem of food waste, an issue that was ranked second bottom of 13 options in a 2009 SRA survey.

Yet only six per cent of those asked said restaurants they ate in communicated what they were doing about food waste.

The SRA says the average restaurant produces 21 tonnes of food waste a year, equating to 0.48 kg per diner. But it warns that not only are restaurants losing money by failing to get to grips with their food waste, they are also “drastically underestimating” the importance consumers attach to the issue.

Better communication could be a simple matter of more informed waiters,
outlining action on restaurant websites, or using a certification system such as the method of scoring restaurants developed by the SRA. The system is already being used as a benchmark to improve the catering operations of companies such as Virgin Atlantic and Eurostar.

Mark Linehan, managing director of the SRA, said the onus is on restaurants to meet a growing consumer desire to know more about their sustainability activities.

The restaurants that respond to the wide-ranging demands of increasingly savvy diners and communicate what they are doing effectively, are the ones that will prosper,” he said in a statement.

Source: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2289780/survey-diners-willing-to-pay-more-for-sustainable-meals
 Article written by Will Nichols