The Sustainable Restaurant Association’s (SRA) latest campaign is “helping people understand what sustainable food looks, smells and tastes like,” says its president Raymond Blanc OBE.
A thousand restaurants and high-profile chefs in the UK are highlighting the sustainability credentials of their menu items through the One Planet Plate campaign, which will officially launch on March 24. High-street restaurants such as Jamie’s Italian, Zizzi and Wahaca as well as chefs including Skye Gyngell and Chantelle Nicholsonwill be among the participants.
Blanc’s own Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons restaurant in Oxfordshire has served dishes made with vegetables grown in the kitchen garden for more than three decades. “By highlighting dishes that capture this ethos One Planet Plate will enhance diners’ experience and help them put their passion for good food into action,” Blanc said.
Diners can find all the restaurants serving a One Planet Plate on a dynamic map on the campaign’s website. Each will be highlighting one of their most sustainable dishes on their menu, using symbols consistent across the SRA’s membership to clearly communicate the One Planet Plate’s environmental benefits. Limiting the featured menu items to one recommended dish is an effort to ‘signpost’ a sustainable choice.
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“Our consumer surveys clearly demonstrate that diners are crying out for some simple signposting to help them,” explained the SRA’s chief executive Andrew Stephen. “One Planet Plate gives chefs the chance to draw attention to one damned delicious dish that epitomises their ethos, and choosing it is a vote for the food future you want to see.”
Almost nine out of ten (86%) of those asked by restaurant guide Harden’s said they thought restaurants should focus on creating a menu that helps them make sustainable choices. Just 20 percent of those questioned said they were satisfied with the ethical performance of the food in the places they have eaten recently, with even fewer (17%) content with its impact on the environment. Another survey by the National Union of Students provided similar results.
- Celebrates local: Uses locally sourced produce to reduce food miles, protecting the environment and supporting local economies.
- Features more veg: Gives vegetables the spotlight (and moves meat to the sideline) to help cut carbon and save resources through a healthy meal.
- Has a low carbon footprint: Uses ingredients that do not require a lot of resources to produce, making it a low-carbon recipe.
- Includes better meat: Forgoes cheap meat in favour of high-welfare choices, as a start towards reducing the ethical and environmental threats posed by conventional agriculture.
- Sources fish sustainably: Uses responsibly-sourced fish to avoid contributing to the problem of over-fishing.
- Wastes no food: Repurposes would-be food waste, often in a creative way, to avoid contributing to the world’s massive food waste problem.
One Planet Plate builds on the SRA’s other sustainability initiatives, such as its recent efforts to reduce plastic waste in partnership with food delivery company Just Eat.