The COP21 climate change conference held in Paris last week was a "wake-up call" for the catering industry, according to catering company Vacherin.
Anthony Kingsley, head of sustainability and corporate social responsibility at Vacherin, argued that COP21 should encourage operators and customers to reduce meat and dairy consumption. Speaking to The Caterer, Kingsley said: "The talks were a wake-up call to everyone around the world - to industry as well.
"We know that less meat, less dairy is a more sustainable choice so that's what we're pushing. We're trying to get customers to understand that very broad point."
In Vacherin's 30 restaurants, recipe cards will be given to customers, highlighting which meals are more sustainable.
Kingsley also argued that there is a business advantage to staying up to date with the environmental agenda. He said: "What we're seeing more and more is the trend of people wanting healthier meals, wanting simpler meals, wanting to know where their food is coming from. As a business if you're not meeting those demands, you're going to miss out on the competitive advantage."
Meanwhile, the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) complained that meat wasn't included prominently enough in the climate change debate. In an online article, it said: "While consumers are eating 20% less meat when they eat out than they were back in 2001, there is still plenty of work to be done and we believe strongly that chefs and the foodservice industry can play a frontline role in helping to change behaviour."
The SRA offers suggestions for restaurants on how to sell sustainable food, arguing the key is "to drop the ethical messages and sell up the positives of vegetables or meat substitutes as a brilliant, modern alternative, not an act of going without."
Last week, a government initiative in France saw 100 Parisian restaurants receive boxes to encourage diners to take their leftovers home, in a bid to reduce food waste.
Latest video from The Caterer