Sustainability claims have huge profit potential
Ethically sourced. Antibiotic free (never ever). Raised without antibiotics. Hormone free. Preservative free. All natural. Clean label. No nitrites. No nitrates. No artificial ingredients.
Today’s consumers are more information-savvy than ever, and they’re seeking out foods that satisfy a growing number of better-for-you claims that link sustainability with health.
Research shows that the majority (54%)1 of consumers are calling for more menu transparency. Sustainability-related menu claims, both environmental and ethical, have skyrocketed on menus lately. According to Datassential MenuTrends analysis, the term “sustainable” is up 187%, “antibiotic free” is up 136% and “hormone free/no hormone” mentions are up 58% since 2013. Operators are seeing the value in communicating this information to their patrons directly.
The current consumer attitude that “clean” foods are both healthy and high-quality has strong implications for foodservice operators in commercial and noncommercial segments. By taking ownership of these claims, operators can add value to menu items across the board. An authentic sustainability story will resonate with guests when the message is consistent, and it can lead to higher check averages. Technomic’s aforementioned report also found that consumers are more willing to pay for clean label claims than they had been in the past—43% are willing to pay more for natural foods, 37% for antibiotic-free and 36% for hormone-free.
Food manufacturers across the industry are dedicating resources to the development of sustainable business practices that address such topics as animal welfare, food waste, environmental impact and nutrition. For today’s operators, it’s critical to find sustainable suppliers that meet their back-of-house needs—and align with the values of their patrons.
One company that is making signficant strides toward the achievement in sustainable practices in food production is Maple Leaf Foods. As the largest producer of pork raised without antibiotics (RWA) in North America, Maple Leaf Foods just announced their ambition ‘To be the most sustainable protein company on earth’, based on a sweeping set of principles and an expansive sustainability agenda that has yielded substantial advancements in nutrition and environmental impact, elevated animals care and step-changed the Company's investment in social change.
So, if you are a foodservice operator, ask yourself some very important questions:
- What claims do you have that link sustainability with health on your menu?
- What is your sustainability story and who’s the hero in your story?
- How are you leveraging the power of sustainably sourced protein?
- How are you embracing your own sustainable practices and feeding consumer demand?
1. Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report