Results from Foodprint from Nutritics’ Sustainability Sentiment Index show that British consumers actively want to make more sustainable choices when eating or drinking out and want more transparency from restaurants, pubs and bars on its menus to demonstrate the effects their choices have on the environment. The survey, which gauged the attitudes of 2,000 nationally representative respondents across the UK, assessed consumer attitudes and views relating to eating and drinking out.
Key findings of the report include:
Nearly two thirds (64%) of people surveyed think eating and drinking out venues/brands could do more to reduce their environmental impact
Almost half (45%) say that a venue’s commitment to sustainability is an important part of deciding where to go and spend money
Over a quarter (27%) of consumers would like to know the carbon footprint of a meal when eating out
Only one-third (35%) feel that they currently have the right information to make sustainable food choices when eating or drinking out
Commenting on the findings, Stephen Nolan, CEO of Foodprint from Nutritics, said:
“It’s clear that there is strong public demand for hospitality venues and brands to be more transparent with their sustainability credentials and to demonstrate these efforts openly to consumers.
“We know that many hospitality and food service operators are looking for ways to achieve Net-Zero, and we encourage them to implement strategies that will not only benefit the planet in the long-run, but also capitalise on consumer desire for understanding the environmental impact of their menu choices.
“It’s evident that a significant – and increasing – numbers of consumers are trying to make better choices to make the planet a greener place. Operators are in a powerful position to use their resources, including technology, not only accelerate their own journey to net zero but also in doing so to drive increased footfall from environmentally savvy diners.”
Consumers care about the impact going/eating out has on the environment and want to make more sustainable choices when eating out
Consumers value venues that care about their commitment to sustainability, with 57% saying it’s important to them that venues and brands make efforts to reduce their environmental impact.
Consumers would like venues to provide them with a variety of information to help them make more sustainable choices when eating out. For example, 40% of those surveyed would like to know whether the food has been locally sourced or not, 27% want to know the carbon footprint of the meal and 26% would like to know the how much restaurants contribute to food waste. Therefore, hospitality and food-service operators need to ensure they are communicating this information across menus and online, providing the credible information that some consumers require to make decisions that match their sustainability needs, and that may help to educate others to make more environmentally-conscious decisions.
Consumers don’t believe hospitality venues are doing enough to reduce their environmental impact
A majority of UK hospitality businesses have made sustainability a higher priority in 2022,, but are they doing as much as they think?
Research confirms that nearly two thirds (64%) of those surveyed think eating and drinking out venues or brands could be doing more to reduce their environmental impact, with almost a fifth (18%) saying they could do significantly more. As such, sustainability will be seen as the expectation, not the exception. The hospitality sector is under pressure from investors and staff to have a clear, executable and reportable strategy for achieving Net Zero and reducing water usage, and clearly, consumers are demanding the same.
Consumers don’t feel they have access to the right information and lack direction to make such decisions
Research shows that making environmentally-conscious food choices when eating or drinking out is genuinely important to nearly half of the population (44%). However, a substantial number of consumers feel they are ill-equipped to make those decisions, with over a third (35%) of those surveyed saying they do not have the right information to make sustainable food choices when eating or drinking out. This means that over 18 million diners in the UK could be making better environmental menu choices if they had the correct information.
This demonstrates a clear demand for information about the environmental impact of hospitality offerings, and research shows that this would be welcomed by consumers: people are more likely (42%) than not (38%) to want to know the environmental impact of food and drink when eating and drinking out.
Operators should therefore see this as a key tool to drive footfall and recognise the commercial value of clearly documented environmental impact information to stand out in a competitive market.
Displaying sustainable credentials is an important ‘spend’ decision-making factor for consumers
The public holds venues and brands to a high standard when it comes to communicating their environmental impact and commitment to sustainability; in fact, venues and brands that are not being transparent about this could potentially be putting their business’ success at risk. This is demonstrated in the fact that a third (33%) of Brits surveyed are more likely to eat or drink at a venue or brand which is transparent about its environmental impact or commitment to sustainability, over one which is not – the equivalent of over 17 million Brits.
With the rising cost-of-living and energy crisis, Operators are fighting ever harder to attract share of shrinking disposable spend. Tapping into this unmet need may be a smart weapon in this battle, and with 1 in 8 (12%) saying a venue’s commitment to sustainability is a very important factor when choosing where to eat or drink, this is certainly something for venues to take note of in a potentially more competitive landscape.