Eco-responsible restaurants: in the spotlight
restaurant management

Eco-responsible restaurants: in the spotlight

The ecological trend, also known as "eco-friendly", is now a way of life in its own right for many French people. Eco-responsible thinking is becoming more and more important in society, especially in view of the worrying ecological situation. To ensure a future tomorrow, it is essential to take care of our planet today.

This growing ethical and ecological awareness has gradually found its way into our plates and the so-called ecological or eco-responsible restaurants have understood this.

But who are these new green restaurants that are popping up in our cities?

What are eco-responsible restaurants?

Eco-responsible restaurants are a topical issue, as in a society increasingly committed to social and environmental concerns, eating better is an inevitable turn.

Eco-responsible restaurants include in their mantra not only environmental but also ethical issues. Combining social and ecological responsibility, these establishments are rethinking their way of working in order to be part of a more responsible approach, which is essential for the preservation of our natural heritage. 

The beginnings of green restaurants

But where does this movement of eco responsibility in the kitchen come from?

The "slow food" movement, launched in the 1980s, was the first to take a fresh look at food, agriculture and gastronomy in restaurants. The name "slow food" is in direct opposition to the fast food concept. The movement puts forward values such as the safeguarding of biodiversity, the preservation of the environment and the fair remuneration of producers. This Italian "eco gastronomy" movement will continue to grow for years and will have a major influence on world gastronomy. Today, the movement has more than 82,000 members in some 50 countries.

Aim and purpose of its restaurants

The aim of these restaurants is to highlight the environment and to address ethical and ecological issues. These restaurants aim to reduce their ecological footprint and rehabilitate a more natural and local cuisine.

If the movement has been able to impose itself in recent years, it is partly thanks to the ecological movement which is developing more and more and which is becoming more democratic. The aim is to respond to a real social problem, the preservation of the environment.

Behind the desire for restaurants to raise awareness of ecological, environmental and ethical issues, there is also a marketing goal. 

Indeed, restaurants have had to adapt to the new concerns and expectations of their customers. These restaurants are responding to a strong and growing demand from customers looking for a new cuisine and a new way of consuming. They want to consume better, smarter and more responsibly. The model of the ecological restaurant is therefore very attractive and gives a very positive image to the restaurant that implements it.

What do eco-responsible restaurants do?

Use of organic products

As you may have noticed, the trend is towards organic products!

Over the last ten years, organic food has become one of the main criteria for the French when it comes to good quality products. Today, nearly 76% of French people consume organic products at least once a month, including 13% who claim to consume them every day. The French are looking for a healthier and more eco-friendly diet.

Indeed, so-called intensive agriculture totally disrupts biodiversity and pesticides ravage the soil. France ranks second in the European pesticide market and is one of the main consumers in the world.

It is therefore obvious that one of the first measures implemented by so-called ecological restaurants is organic and natural food. Offering organic products is a guarantee of safety for consumers. The restaurants assure them of products that are good for their health, for the planet, with a low ecological footprint.

Local products

Currently, 82% of French people prefer to buy products of French origin and 77% of them prefer to buy products from local producers. Consumers are more and more attentive to the origin of what they consume.

Eco-responsible restaurants will therefore favour French origin, ultra-local products and small producers. The short circuit is therefore favoured, which allows producers to sell their products directly to the restaurant without going through a third party.

As a result, its establishments avoid long-distance transport, which has a positive impact on the environment and limits their carbon footprint to a minimum.

Moreover, since the Covid-19 crisis, it has become essential to support the local economy!

A kitchen with a focus on plants

Eating meat every day is outdated! The average meat consumption per capita in France has decreased by 12% in 10 years. In fact, in recent years there has been a real awakening of awareness about the living conditions of animals in intensive farming and the dubiously ethical methods of certain slaughterhouses.

But moving towards a more plant-based diet is as much an ethical issue as an ecological one. Indeed, livestock farming is also responsible for a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions, i.e. 18% (more than transport), and it is foodstuffs that cause the most greenhouse gas emissions according to the IPCC experts. Moreover, livestock farming is responsible for 8% of global water consumption and is one of the main causes of deforestation worldwide.

In addition to meat consumption, there has also been a decline in the consumption of animal products, which are responsible for intense global pollution.

As a result, vegan and vegetarian diets have become much more popular, as has flexitarianism. In France, 20% of the population is now defined as flexitarian, i.e. a person who reduces his or her consumption of meat and fish as much as possible, but allows himself or herself to eat them occasionally.

It is therefore essential for green restaurateurs to go more green!

A large number of restaurants have therefore decided to make vegetarian products the stars of their menu. Vegetables are no longer just a side dish, they are now at the centre of our plates and have a central place in the kitchen.

Reducing waste

In France, food losses and waste represent 1.3 billion tons of products per year. All this waste has a negative impact on the planet, it is responsible for the release of 3.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases per year. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest polluter in the world after the United States and China. Food waste therefore has an impressive carbon footprint, but also a huge water consumption.

According to Europe 1, "it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of flour. Throwing away a loaf of bread is therefore equivalent to throwing away a whole bathtub. For one kilo of red meat, the figure rises to 70 bathtubs, if we take into account the water consumed by the animals and used to produce the food they eat.

To reduce this waste, restaurateurs are implementing different strategies.

Nothing is thrown away, everything is transformed!

Here are some tips on how to waste as little as possible:

  • Turn your peelings into chips or your wilted courgettes into soup.
  • Serve the right amount of food for your customers, there is no point in making plates that no one will be able to finish.
  • Be careful with your stocks, if you buy too much you risk losses.
  • Have a composter
  • If, despite everything, you still have food on your hands, contact associations! Donate your unused products to those who need them.

Here are some associations to contact:

La Tablée des Chefs (France, Canada, Mexico)

Red Cross (worldwide)

Les restos du cœur (France)

The food bank (France)

The labels

Ecological and eco-responsible restaurants are awarded a number of labels to prove their actions and involvement in sustainable development. The labels will also allow customers to choose the restaurant that best suits their needs. For example, a restaurant with the eco-responsible label implies that the cuisine offered is made from fresh and local products.

The international EcoCook® certification

The EcoCook certification is recognised worldwide as the maximum legitimacy of sustainability in the restaurant sector. This certification is awarded to restaurants that have sustainable habits in the way they cook and in the operation of their establishment, with the aim of contributing to the reduction of environmental pollution.

Ecotable label

The Ecotable label aims to reward and promote eco-responsible restaurants by awarding them ecotable badges. 8 criteria are taken into account: supply, water and energy consumption, communication, health, the menu, choice of cleaning products, food recycling and waste.

Green Food Label

It is the first eco-responsible label for the restaurant industry in France. This 100% independent label enables consumers to identify chefs committed to sustainable development. Obtaining the label is subject to compliance with and verification of the Green Food charter.

This charter is made up of ten strict criteria, allowing a clear and global vision of the environmental footprint of a restaurant: from the sourcing of products to waste management and the energy used. The charter is intended to evolve and adapt to legislation and society, as well as to the various environmental and social issues.

The Framheim label

This label focuses on the fight against waste. Although the ultimate goal is zero waste, this label promotes the commitment of the restaurant to progress towards this goal.

This allows the restaurant to demonstrate to its customers that it is committed to fighting waste and over-packaging.

Labelled restaurants also benefit from media exposure thanks to the label's partners and sponsors.

In addition, it is possible for them to join a forum for exchanges between restaurateurs. This allows them to share good tips and anti-waste tips.

As you can see, our future is going green! Plant-based cuisine and restaurants with an environmental focus will certainly become the pillars of tomorrow's gastronomy.

Whether from a social, ethical, environmental or health point of view, everything is pushing us towards a different way of eating and consuming, a model in line with our future.

It is therefore more necessary than ever to turn towards an ecological transition. Every gesture counts!

The popularisation of ecological restaurants is therefore following this wave of eco-responsible awareness and is becoming more popular every day. Eco-responsible restaurants are in the spotlight and open the door to a more plant-based, healthier and more local gastronomy, but always as tasty and delicious!

So don't hesitate any longer, go for it!

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