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Hospitality operators are ignoring sustainability issues

31 January 2008

High-street hospitality operators are "way off the pace" compared to food retailers on promoting ethics and sustainability, experts have warned.

Pointing to the success of the Whole Foods Market store in London's Kensington, Tricon Foodservice Consultants said operators should take note of the retailer's thorough thinking on health, animal welfare, sustainability, food miles and fair trade.

Tony Horton, Tricon chief executive, said: "The ethical issues are promoted throughout the store and they go to great lengths to explain about animal welfare, sustainability, food miles and so on.

"Its ‘Take Action' centres offer customers a wide variety of information on local, regional, national, and international issues of concern."

Horton said other UK retailers are recognising the importance of displaying their ethical credentials, but warned that most hospitality operators on the high street "are pretty much ignoring the issue".

They need to address this, he said, as the difference between specialised hospitality operators and retail is rapidly shrinking with supermarkets now offering food-to-go, take away meals and full service restaurants.

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By Jo Chapman

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