It sometimes takes a high-profile event to push a topic to the top of the news agenda, and that’s certainly what happened when the ‘Blue Planet’ TV series showed shocking footage of the impact of plastic waste on the seas.
More than a year on the impact is still being felt, with many operators in the hospitality sector having moved to remove or reduce the use of plastic disposables from their business. Perhaps even more significantly, changes in legislation have been announced which include a ban on single use plastics such as straws and stirrers, due to be implemented by next year.
There are also planned changes to packaging regulations affecting mixed use plastics, which will have a profound impact on the sector, as will measures aimed at reducing commercial food waste.
These issues, though, have been steadily moving up the consumer agenda since well before the TV programme aired. Regular research conducted by the Food Standards Agency shows that topic such as food waste, food miles and food sustainability have been on the list of topics that concern consumers for some time. In addition, it is as likely to be older consumers who are making decisions on where they eat out based on sustainability issues as it is the younger demographic.
That makes it clear that sustainability is a crucial long-term challenge for the catering and hospitality sector. Along with the impact of stricter legislation, there is a growing expectation by customers that businesses will operate in a responsible way, from sourcing food and drink right through to the way they dispose of waste. Operators who fail to meet those expectations will see customers voting with their feet.
These factors have all helped to drive the decision by Lynx Purchasing to implement our new sustainability programme. We want to help our customers see how a more ethical and sustainable approach to purchasing can reduce their costs, while still keeping quality levels high. We are looking more than ever at working with suppliers who provide products and services that are produced in a sustainable way.
We all have a responsibility, and because we work so closely with both our customers and more than 60 trusted suppliers, we know we can be a powerful and positive influence for change. In the current market, it can feel like a challenge to try and focus past the potential for supply chain disruption over the coming months, and onto the long term. However, efficient ordering, well-planned delivery schedules and reducing waste all play a part. In the short term, they can help operators deal with any disruption, and over time, these measures will reduce the sector’s environmental impact, well as increasing operators’ margins in the long term.
As just one example, Lynx Purchasing has now joined the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC) which is working to ensure that all fish and seafood sold in the UK comes from sustainable sources. We’re the first purchasing group to join, and our membership is part of a wider commitment to sustainability across our business.
The oceans are in the front line when it comes to the challenge of responsible sourcing, and hospitality operators have great influence in their buying choices. The SSC code, helps to establish consistency on labelling and sourcing within the seafood supply chain. There is also a sound business case for working with a seafood supplier to ensure that fish and seafood is responsibly sourced, Featuring ‘catch of the day’ dishes on menus and specials boards has strong appeal to consumers who may not have the confidence to use a wider range of species at home.
That’s just one example of a whole range of way in which operators can put sustainability at the heart of their sourcing. Lynx Purchasing, in partnership with suppliers, is committed to supporting our customers in this vital area. You can find out more about our Sustainability Programme here: https://www.lynxpurchasing.co.uk/how-we-work/sustainability-policy/