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Food Made Good, the world’s largest sustainability programme for the food service sector, has just launched in Hong Kong. The programme focuses on influencing the sustainability of kitchens, from upping the number of low carbon, veg-led options on menus to reducing waste in operations. Especially in Hong Kong, where people are eating meat and dairy more than ever before, and city dwellers eat out several times a week, the impact of the climate-friendly F&B movement to influence greener choices could be massive.
Founded in the United Kingdom by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, Food Made Good is a movement that puts food waste and meat reduction at the top of the priorities for kitchens all over the world, and has just launched in Hong Kong led by CEO Heidi Yu Spurrell. Food Made Good’s debuted with 16 founding restaurant members and 4 supplier founding members, and will work to encourage greener plant-based menu options that lower their carbon footprint and target food waste reduction. By doing so, the movement hopes to empower consumers to make planet-friendly choices when they dine out.
Participating restaurants include influential high-end locations like Amber and Arcane and mainstay chains like Beef & Liberty, Classified, Pizza Express and SaladStop!. Of course, a list of well-known plant-based eateries have also joined as partners, including Kind Kitchen, MANA!, Nectar, TREEHOUSE, and SpiceBox Organics. The advisory board features a roster of Hong Kong’s leading plant-based and sustainability champions such as Chef Peggy Chan of Nectar and formerly Grassroots Pantry, founder of Green Monday David Yeung and our very own Green Queen founder and editor-in-chief Sonalie Figueiras.
Food Made Good’s programme in Hong Kong comprises of two major sustainability initiatives: “Food Print” and “Food Waste Bad Taste”. While the former focuses on helping restaurants reduce the carbon footprint of the food served by shifting towards more plant-based menus, the latter is a 6-week online programme that supports hospitality businesses to measure and act on food waste in kitchens. The aim of the second programme is to encourage the F&B industry to act collectively in line with Hong Kong government targets to slash landfilled food waste from an astonishing 3,600 tonnes per day to 2,160 by 2022.
Commenting on the launch, president of Food Made Good Hong Kong and founder of acclaimed restaurants Arcane and Cornerstone Shane Osborn said: “I am extremely excited to be a part of the movement in Hong Kong…to see what further changes we can adopt to make genuine change across the food and beverage sector and work together to reduce our impact on the environment and generate social good.”
The movement arrives at a time when our planet is facing a crossroads. From record-breaking temperatures causing rising sea-levels, flooding, drought and more extreme weather patterns to global health epidemics, it is clear that action must be taken now. Scientists and experts from around the world have reiterated that our global food system is at the crux of the problem. According to figures from the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organisation, animal livestock farming is responsible for almost a fifth of global carbon emissions – more than global transport combined. Not to mention, the livestock industry is also accountable for water and soil pollution, and greater demand is fuelling farmers to burn away more of our forests for cattle ranching and feed cultivation.
“We need to rethink the way we produce, consume and dispose of food and chefs and restaurants are crucial to that change. They are the ones that create food culture by making the change we need to see, the change we want to eat,” said Food Made Good Global CEO Simon Heppner.
Hong Kong, as a city with one of the highest carbon output thanks to its meat and dairy obsession, is well poised to make a huge impact on the global food system. Hong Kongers on average eat out 5 – 10 times per week, which means that individuals’ meal choices do add up in terms of larger impact. Increasing the number of plant-based options on menus across the F&B sector is one approach to tackling our currently unsustainable dining habits. As a Cambridge University study recently revealed, simply doubling vegetarian and vegan dishes on menus cuts meat orders by 40 – 80%.
Such moves would also bring about substantial health benefits, easing the strain on the public health systems, as another study from Oxford University found that consuming sustainable food is correlated with a lower risk of heart disease, cancer and other long-term illnesses.
Lead image courtesy of Food Made Good.