Consumers would be willing to swap their usual menu choices for more sustainable dishes when eating out, says new research by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).
According to the organisation, the number of consumers concerned about the environment is up from 47% pre-lockdown to 65% now. As such, almost two thirds of these concerned consumers (63%) said they’d be likely or very likely to try a restaurant’s most sustainable dish over their regular favourite, if they knew what it was.
The national survey also reveals that consumers expect to return to eating out as often as they did pre-March 2020, once guidelines allowed. More than three quarters (76%) said they would return to their pre-lockdown eating out levels of up to four times a month.
If those who said they’d be willing to swap to a more sustainable dish actually did so, just half the times they ate out, The SRA estimates the carbon savings would be 367,828Co2te.
That’s the equivalent of the entire population of Swansea (225,000) flying to New York and back or of planting 736 hectares of broadleaf forest, a space the size of 1,051 full-size football pitches, or 1,288,000 trees annually. The saving would also be enough to offset the entire personal carbon budgets of 150,000 people – or a whole city the size of Oxford.
The survey is the first to link the environment with bringing about a change in consumers actions when eating out.
Raymond Blanc OBE, president of the SRA, said: “It is very encouraging to see so many people are wanting and willing to choose a sustainable dish. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that they act on their good intentions.
“As chefs, we not only have to source and serve food that tastes amazing and has a minimal impact on the environment, but also show people what sustainable food looks like. If we all choose #FoodMadeGood the potential rewards are enormous for restaurants, our networks of local growers and of course the planet.”