A thousand restaurants across the world will put sustainability on the menu this week as they take part in the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s (SRA) One Planet Plate campaign, launching on 24 March. Chefs and restaurateurs will serve dishes that highlight what their business is doing to address problems within the food system – problems highlighted by the results of a recent survey of Harden’s readers.
The survey, conducted by us on behalf of the SRA, took place in February this year – so a big thanks to all of our readers who took part. It revealed very low levels of satisfaction with the social and environmental impact of the food on offer in UK restaurants.
Just 20 per cent of those asked by Harden’s said they were satisfied with how ethical the food is on the menus of places they’ve eaten in recently, while even fewer, only 17 per cent, are satisfied with its impact on the environment. And almost nine out of 10 Harden’s readers (86 per cent) said they thought restaurants should focus on creating a menu that helps them make sustainable choices.
The picture is similar among students surveyed by the National Union of Students (NUJ). Fewer than a quarter (24.8 per cent) of students are satisfied with the environmental impact of the food on offer when they eat out, while fewer than one in three (30.4 per cent) believe it’s meeting sufficient ethical standards.
Chefs joining the One Planet Plate campaign include Raymond Blanc (Le Manoir’s garden beetroot terrine pictured below), Skye Gyngell (Spring WC2), Josh Eggleton of Chew Magna’s Pony & Trap (seasonal salad pictured above) and Chantelle Nicholson (Tredwell’s WC2), as well as high street restaurants like Zizzi and Wahaca. Restaurants as far afield as Virgin Limited Edition’s Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, Shoun RyuGin in Taiwan, and L’Effervescence in Tokyo, will also be serving a One Planet Plate.
This global campaign helps diners use the power of their appetites wisely, as well as giving chefs the chance to demonstrate to diners in food form how they’re contributing to a better food future. As the consumer survey results demonstrate, faced with a full menu of dishes to choose from, it can be hard for even the most conscious diners to feel confident they’re making the right choice, even in the most ethical restaurant. A One Planet Plate is effectively the chef’s sustainable special – his or her recommendation.
To give the campaign a kickstart, the SRA is launching it to coincide with WWF’s Earth Hour on 24 March – the largest environmental event in the calendar and a perfect moment to grab diners’ attention. This is the fourth year that the SRA has partnered with WWF on Earth Hour and this year more restaurants are participating than ever and giving customers the chance to make positive food choices. Diners can find 1,000 restaurants serving a One Planet Plate on a dynamic map at www.oneplanetplate.org. The site also serves as a treasure trove of 100 recipes for the dishes created and contributed by chefs from high end to high street.
Diners eating or cooking one of the sustainable specials can share pictures on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #oneplanetplate.