Bidfood ‘plates up’ sustainability to industry
Some of the UK’s most forward thinking foodservice companies have united – for the first time ever – to launch a powerful sustainability initiative, set to revolutionise how the industry shares green knowledge, guidelines and best practice examples. A recent survey revealed the continued need for foodservice operators to drive sustainability within their business, responding to the 83% of consumers that said sustainability directly affects their dining choices.
This has been easier said than done in the past, as the ethical landscape continues to evolve with new Government legislation and changing consumer needs making sustainable business choices a real challenge for caterers to navigate.
plate2planet is the new ‘green alliance’ between seven of the UK’s key foodservice businesses – Unilever, Premier Foods, Delifrance UK, Vegware, Planet First and Jacobs Douwe Egberts, powered by Bidfood who is driving the initiative – and marks a step change towards a truly collaborative approach to the sustainability challenges faced by the industry.
Tom Hunt, author of The Natural Cook and chef-patron of Poco, a restaurant recycling and composting 95-100% of their waste, is supporting the new campaign and commented: “As sustainability moves from being a marketing fad to becoming a core business objective it is important that it starts to be seen as a common goal.”
“That means the entire food industry must work together, if we are to achieve real change. In bringing together so many brands under a single initiative, plate2planet has the real potential to act as a catalyst to driving understanding and engagement across the entire sector. It will be very interesting to watch where plate2planet takes us.”
The group, dubbed ‘the sustainability seven’, are pooling their resources to offer operators across all channels the opportunity to share ideas, inspiration, and expertise via a ‘one-stop-shop’ digital platform. The platform provides a forum for likeminded caterers, providing access to useful and practical information for those looking for help and solutions including how to guides, inspiring case studies, guidance on regulations, handy tools, and inspiring supply chain stories. In fact everything businesses need whether they are looking to generate savings, achieve zero to landfill, source sustainably or plan their own CSR journey.
“Our customers, and those of our plate2planet partners, care deeply about sustainability and operators across the industry are taking measures to tackle the challenges,” said Shirley Duncalf, Head of Sustainability at Bidfood.
“Caterers are looking to drive successful green initiatives that truly add value to their own community, customers and their bottom line but many of them tell us they do not have the resources to research trends, find new suppliers or dissect complicated reports and Government documents. As a result, sustainable change is inching forward rather than propelling.”
“We have listened to these concerns and responded to the need for better access. As a collective we have a wealth of knowledge that is unparalleled. Our aim, in sharing these resources in a single space, is to support the entire industry to make small but effective changes which can ultimately have a huge impact on a global scale, and on profit margins. Our message is that by working together we can truly enact positive change.”
Délifrance UK: Richard Vaughan, UK Head of Technical at Délifrance UK says: “The launch of the website plate2planet.co.uk is an excellent opportunity for us to engage with our customers and consumers in an open forum to discuss, share and learn about sustainability news, ideas and developments across all sectors.”
Planet First: Steve Malkin, ceo Planet First and founder of The Planet Mark: “We’re delighted to be partnering on plate2planet. 90% of Bidfood’ customers claim sustainability is important to their business and at Planet First and The Planet Mark we believe every organisation can be sustainable and can contribute to a planet where everyone can thrive. We have a wealth of best practice knowledge, tools, stories and ideas to share with the foodservice community that will enable it to cut its carbon and costs and lead the way on sustainability. plate2planet is an excellent platform to do this.”
Premier Foods: Sarah Robb, Channel Marketing Manager at Premier Foods comments: “We are thrilled to be involved in this initiative. At Premier Foodservice we believe we have a crucial role in helping to build a sustainable future for the industry and we’re continually looking for ways to reduce our environmental footprint and minimise our impact; whether that’s through the sourcing of local ingredients, reducing emissions or buying responsibly to ensure the upmost quality and authenticity of our products. We believe this is an excellent platform for the foodservice industry to share best practice and work collaboratively in driving the sustainability agenda forward.”
Unilever Food Solutions: Peter Bolger, National Account Controller for Bidfood, said: “The launch of the new digital platform plate2planet.co.uk is perfectly in line with Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, which is our blueprint for sustainable businesses. We are excited and pleased to be associated to this initiative and to join hands with Bidfood to create a space where people can share and learn about news and opportunities around sustainability.”
Vegware: Eilidh Brunton, Group Recycling Consultant, commented: “Foodservice is making big strides in sustainability, but it is vital to share ideas and best practice. I lead Vegware’s environmental team, and our Food Waste Network initiative which maps all UK food waste recycling, helping foodservice go zero waste. We are delighted to share our expertise in food waste recycling, behaviour change, communication and staff engagement around zero waste. plate2planet is a fantastic initiative and Vegware is pleased to be involved from the outset.”
 Sustainable Restaurant Association, Food Made Good, September 2015