Food businesses must cater to young people’s desire to know where their food is from and offer attractive meat-free options if they want to make the most of millennial money.

Younger diners attracted by meat-free menus

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A new survey found that half of the millennials questioned were more likely to dine out in venues where explanations about food origination are on offer. The survey, which was conducted by Populus for WWF-UK, also found that more than half of people in this age group (53 per cent) would choose cafes or restaurants serving meat that had been reared with high welfare standards in mind.

Taking this idea further, one in five of the 18-to-43-year-olds questioned said that they would like eateries to offer entirely meat-free days.

Catering for Sustainability

The survey’s findings were released in conjunction with the announcement of a new WWF-UK report entitled “Catering for Sustainability”. The report, which is also the work of the Food Ethics Council and Sodexo UK and Ireland, can be read on the WWF website at http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/wwf_catering_full_report.pdf?_ga=1.218529049.1414195058.1404815893.

The document offers a business case for restaurants and cafes offering sustainable menus, claiming that supply chain risks can be mitigated and leaving businesses to reap the rewards in terms of improved profits and revenues.

The voice of the consumer

In a world where diners demand more than just tasty food – where everything from the standard of commercial warewashers and hygiene levels are prized just as highly as recipe quality – it seems increasingly important to listen to what customers really want.

Just as businesses can source commercial warewashers through 247catering to ensure customers have no complaints about cleanliness, Sodexo’s corporate responsibility manager in Britain and Ireland, Edwina Hughes, says businesses can make “small changes” in order to make meals more appealing.

Hughes uses a recent Green & Lean pilot of sustainable meals for independent schools as an example of how small changes to traditional recipes such as beef lasagne and chicken pie can create more nutritious and sustainable menu items.

She said students and a wider school community had reported a keenness to engage in issues surrounding sustainable eating and were pleased with the results of the Green & Lean recipes.

Ms Hughes said that there is a “growing” consumer interest in understanding food provenance and exploring the impact of different food choices.