2007 Catering Study: And the survey says ...

The desire to operate foodservice in a more environmentally friendly manner isn’t necessarily a driving force in catering.

Buffets are up and sit-downs are down for many non-commercial catering operators, according to the FSD 2007 Catering Study. Learn what trends are driving catering, and what challenges non-commercial caterers faced in the last year.

The environment is certainly one of the hottest topics in non-commercial foodservice these days. But the desire to operate foodservice in a more environmentally friendly manner isn’t necessarily a driving force in catering, at least according to FoodService Director’s 2007 Catering Study.

Although anecdotal evidence suggests that most foodservice departments engage in recycling efforts with regard to catering, most operators have yet to make the switch to biodegradable or compostable serviceware, the study revealed. Only 33% of operators surveyed say they offer customers the option of using such serviceware. The largest percentage of operators making this option available are found in colleges and universities (38%) and the smallest percentage in B&I (24%).

However, most of those that do offer environmentally friendly tableware make a solid effort to encourage customers to make the choice. According to the survey, 71% of operators who offer such serviceware do not pass the cost onto the customers, even though it  is more expensive to purchase.

Interestingly, the sector most likely to be most environmentally friendly is also most likely to charge more. Thirty-eight percent of university caterers say they pass the cost on to clients.

Of course, not offering biodegradable serviceware does not necessarily mean that a caterer isn’t environmentally conscious. For example, at Harvard University, Crimson Catering tries to reduce its environmental footprint by minimizing the use of disposables.

“We encourage the use of china wherever possible,” says Madeline Meehan, director of Crimson Catering. “In addition, all of our delivery vehicles  run on bio-diesel fuel. We have light sensors in all of our catering areas so we don’t waste electricity, and food salvage is sent to a local pig farmer.”

But other operators cite reasons why environmental efforts are lagging. At Eastman Chemical Inc., Kingston, Tenn., the company makes a major effort to recycle such items as plastic bottles, cooking grease, cardboard boxes and aerosol cans. But Jean Petke, senior employee services coordinator, notes that her contractors aren’t as active.

Reasons noted by Petke’s contractors include lack of space and a lack of interest from customers. Greg Saunders, catering director for Troutdale Catering, which handles events at the Eastman Lodge, notes, “This is our most challenging area. A large part of our business is using disposable products, but we have had success in washing and reusing some of the more durable ones. Space is a huge concern for us as far as recycling.”

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
chili flakes and peppers spicy hot

From Catallia.

When planning your menus, take note: college and university students think spicy is hot.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers age 18-34 find spicy flavors, “extremely appealing,” according to Technomic. And almost 50% of college students surveyed said they would like their schools to offer more ethnic foods and beverages, states a recent Technomic College & University Consumer Trend Report. Translation: they like their food kicked up a notch!

More Options than Ever

“Students of today are all about flavor,” says Steve Mangan, director of dining for...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo is partnering with celebrity chef Robert Irvine in an attempt to provide military communities with healthier meals.

The 10-year partnership will allow Sodexo to access chef Irvine’s knowledge of nutrition and fitness in its aim to benefit the quality of life for military members, the vendor said in a news release.

Sodexo hopes that Irvine’s popularity as the host of Food Network’s "Restaurant: Impossible" will draw attention to its commitment to nutrition, health and well being. Irvine also has a military history himself—before embarking on his culinary career, he...

Industry News & Opinion

The cafeteria at the Smithsonian's new National Museum for African American History and Culture is intended to be an extension of the museum, showcasing stations that offer cuisines from different geographic locations such as the Creole coast and agricultural South, Time reports .

The eatery, Sweet Home Cafe, was set up to highlight the wide range of African-American cuisine, Executive Chef Jerome Grant told Time. When it officially opens later this month, it will serve dishes such as shrimp and grits, pan-roasted oysters and a fried catfish po’boy.

Celebrity chef Carla...

Sponsored Content
Pierce boneless wings

From Pierce Chicken.

Spicy chicken wings have taken off as an iconic American food since their debut at the Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1964. They reached a new milestone during Super Bowl 50 weekend in February, when more than 1.3 billion wings were consumed, according to the National Chicken Council.

The emergence of boneless wings—breaded, boneless chunks of chicken breast with zesty flavors—has made a good thing even better. In fact, research shows that boneless wings complement traditional bone-in wings on restaurant menus, boosting the entire wing...

FSD Resources