Sustainability claims have huge profit potential

sustainable sourcing foodservice

From Maple Leaf Foods. 

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 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Regional School Unit 17 in Belfast, Maine, is banning straws beginning on Monday, the Penbay Pilot reports.

The ban was put into action by a student group and the district’s foodservice director. Over the years, the district has also phased out plastic utensils and plans to completely eliminate foam food trays this upcoming school year.

Director of Food Services Perley Martin told the Penbay Pilot that the district’s foodservice budget has not increased as a result of the transition to more eco-friendly materials, due to the fact the change was made slowly.

The...

Industry News & Opinion

School districts in Jefferson, Oswego, and St. Lawrence counties in New York will be expanding their farm-to-school programs as the result of new funding, Watertown Daily Times reports.

The expansions will be made possible by the Seeds for Success program, which awarded grants to seven school districts last year to begin farm-to-school programs. This year, it will provide $5,000 grants to an additional 19 districts to either start or expand their local food efforts.

One of the grant recipients said it will use the funds to add additional gardens and expand its composting...

Industry News & Opinion

Aramark has begun using a new system to track, purchase and report on its sustainable practices.

The system, named Open Fields, allows foodservice vendors to create and monitor their own sustainability programs. Users can run their own metrics on various sustainability initiatives based on factors such as location, product, spend, attribute, farm/vendor, miles to location and distributor. Managers can also generate reports on their organization’s sustainable purchases.

Aramark says it’s using the software to track its sustainable purchases of products that are Fair Trade...

Industry News & Opinion

Columbia Public Schools in Columbia, Mo., has introduced a farm-to-school coordinator position for its new farm-to-school program , the Missourian reports .

The district partnered with the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture to create the role, which is intended to help about 1,000 third- through fifth-graders eat more fruits and vegetables. The coordinator will be in charge of arranging student field trips to the Center’s farm as well as writing and planning a curriculum and activities for students.

The Center will provide around $42,000 for the position, and the...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code