Showing results for: Restaurants/eating out
This report from the US nonprofit Centre for Biological Diversity quantifies the environmental impacts (climate, habitat loss and water use) of caterers or events planners switching from a “conventional American dining menu” (including dairy, beef and other meats) to a mostly plant-based alternative menu.
FCRN member Christian Reynolds has co-authored this paper, which finds that in Japan, differences in the carbon footprint of household food consumption are driven by what the paper describes as “unexpected” food categories: the households with higher food carbon footprints spend more on restaurant food, fish, vegetables, alcohol and confectionary.
This report from UK NGO Sustain is a guide for both local and national policymakers. It argues that controlling hot food takeaway outlets (e.g. fish and chip shops, kebab shops, burger bars) through planning laws, e.g. by limiting the number of outlets near schools, can help to promote public health.
Children in New York City who live less than 0.025 miles (about half a city block) from a fast-food outlet are more likely to be obese or overweight than children who live further away, according to this paper. The probability of a child being overweight was up to 4.4% lower and the probability of obesity was up to 2.9% lower for children who lived further away, relative to those who lived closest to fast-food outlets. The study used over 3.5 million data points (measurements of body mass index) from the New York City public school system between 2009 and 2013.
This paper by FCRN member Emma Garnett finds that doubling the availability of vegetarian lunchtime meal options (from one-in-four to two-in-four) in university cafeterias increases vegetarian sales by 40-80%, with little change to overall sales and no detectable rebound effects (such as lower vegetarian meal sales at other meal times such as evening meals).
This annual report from Menus of Change, a joint initiative by The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, provides guidance for the foodservice sector on how to choose menus and select ingredients in ways that are beneficial to health and the environment.
In two experiments where participants were asked to choose between hypothetical canteen meals, “traffic light labelling” (red, amber or green labels) of different meal options was found to shift meal choices towards those lower in carbon emissions and calorie content.
In this paper, FCRN members Christian Reynolds and Tom Quested review the effectiveness of different consumption-stage measures to reduce food waste. Examples of successful interventions include serving food on smaller plates (which can reduce food waste by up to 57%) and changing school nutritional guidelines (which reduced waste of vegetables by 28% because fewer students selected vegetables and those who did select vegetables ate more of them).
This report from the UK’s Sustainable Restaurant Association reviews the current state of sustainability in the UK food service sector. The three main challenges it identifies are reducing the amount of meat on menus, reducing food waste, and using less single-use plastic packaging.
The World Resources Institute has published its early findings on research into language that appeals to British and US consumers when describing plant-based foods.
FCRN member Annette Burgard has created the app More Than Carrots, which has rated 1500 London restaurants according to their number and variety of vegan and vegetarian options.
Some businesses no longer accept cash and instead prefer card or other digital payments. This piece in The Spoon explores the ways in which cashless businesses might exclude some people, following legislation in New York City that could, if passed, force restaurants, coffee shops and stores to accept cash.
A survey of 18- to 24-year-old students in the US finds that very few study participants had high knowledge of the issue of food waste, and many participants estimated that they wasted less than the average American. Students often attributed blame for food waste to university dining halls, food service outlets or society in general, rather than to themselves as individuals. The paper grouped factors that both increased and reduced food waste production (depending on context) into several categories, including taste and appearance, reuse value, scheduling, personal values, portion sizes, cost, social norms, whether or not the food was prepared by the person who ate it, sharing of food, convenience, and food safety.
Scientists used DNA barcoding (testing a short section of the genome) to check whether fish in Metro Vancouver are really the species that they are labelled as being. They found that 25% of fish sampled were mislabelled, with error rates higher in restaurants than in grocery stores or sushi bars. Since the price of the claimed species was often higher than that of the real species, the paper suggests that some labelling may be intentional. However, the paper also suggests that some errors could be due to confusion between vernacular fish names (rather than scientific species names).
Redesigning restaurant menus to promote vegetarian dishes can change behaviour, but the effect depends on how frequently customers have eaten vegetarian food in the last week, according to an online survey. Presenting vegetarian dishes as the chef’s recommendation or using more appealing menu descriptions both make infrequent eaters of vegetarian foods more likely to choose the vegetarian option (compared to a control case), and frequent eaters of vegetarian foods less likely to do so. Putting vegetarian options in a separate menu section didn’t affect the choices made by infrequent eaters of vegetarian foods, but made those who eat them frequently less likely to choose a vegetarian dish.
From 7 May 2018, chain restaurants in the US with 20 or more branches are required to include calorie counts on their menus. The rules are part of an Obama-era health care law.