According to a recent Mintel report, consumers want and need to eat out, but the foodservice industry has a huge carbon footprint. Getting industry operators and consumers on the “green” bandwagon is necessary to minimize the impact that restaurants have on the environment, says the report. 57% of respondents to the study are willing to pay more for local and sustainable fare, but the majority of those are only willing to pay 1 to 5% more.
Eric Giandelone, foodservice director at Mintel, says “Green and sustainable attributes pale in comparison to... restaurant decision drivers of menu selection, prices and convenient location...”
When deciding where to eat, 74% of patrons based their decision on menu selection followed 69% on pricing and 67% on convenient location. Local/organic ingredients and sustainable ingredients lagged severely behind with only 7% of people saying that drove them to a restaurant.
When respondents were asked to rate their top three corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, going green and using local ingredients aren’t the only issues restaurants are facing today. Patrons place the greatest importance on living wages, local ingredients and company-provided medical insurance.
Giandelone adds, “... employee treatment is considered a leading CSR initiative in the restaurant industry... (but) those aged 18-24 are generally more in tune with green and sustainable initiatives... (while) living wages rank as more important for older consumers... ”
According to the report, the West has traditionally been a hotbed for healthier lifestyles and related culinary trends. Although still a small percentage of patrons are impacted, local or organic ingredients are particularly of interest to those living in Western states (11% versus 7% of the Northwest and only 4% of the Midwest).
The complete report is available from Mintel here.