Contract caterers are coming under increased pressure from clients to provide an environmentally sustainable service, according to leading industry figures.
They claim green issues like food miles, traceability and locally sourced ingredients and recycling have moved to the top of many customers' agendas and deals can be lost if caterers can't prove environmental credentials.
BaxterStorey deputy chief executive William Baxter said: "When we pitch for work, things like food miles and recycling are now crucial and we've won deals on that basis." He added that clients now demanding better environmental policies included publisher Random House, the Environment Agency and Barclays Bank.
Robyn Jones, chief executive of Charlton House, which has taken cod off its menus in a bid to help sustain fish stocks, agreed environmental issues were no longer something caterers could ignore.
The call for greater environmental awareness among caterers came at a worldwide conference held by the Foodservice Consultants Society International in Edinburgh last week. Caterers were warned to ignore environmental concerns at their peril, but the keynote speaker, author Richard Scase, also said the food-service sector had the potential to set the standard for all industries developing sustainability strategies.
By Tom Bill