Ethical Eats

Britain’s retailers and supermarkets have been responding with great speed to their customers’ demands for organic and fair-trade clothing and foods. But the comparable provenance of restaurant food has been ignored so far. Except for the much-lauded few such as Acorn House, the Duke of Cambridge Organic Pub and Konstam, the majority have not made much effort to develop sustainable and environmentally friendly business practices. Which is odd, considering that UK consumers spend more money on eating out than on buying food to make at home. And they are obsessed with labels showing where the food is flown from, produced, grown and under what conditions. A new group, Ethical Eats, has been started to bring restaurateurs together to discuss how they can become more sustainable and at the same time let customers know that they are working hard to do this. Some of the members of the group have already made in-roads: Leon is a little chain that has organic foods on the menu, tries to get 70% of its ingredients from the UK and serves free range chicken. Moshi Moshi, a sushi chain, gets almost half their fish directly from fishermen in south-west England. Everyone acknowledges that there is much more that could be done. A standard logo could be displayed by restaurants that use sustainable practices. These could include recycling, using environmentally friendly packaging, and reducing food transport distances. But it is hard for small restaurants that can’t afford organic and don’t have the time to do all the research. So far they have discussed sustainable fish with Greenpeace and the Marine Stewardship Council. Next meeting is a chance to meet the local producers. :: Ethical Eats Via :: Financial Times

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