Tribune | “Sustainable Catering: Green Marketing”

Economic, environmental, health crises and, more recently, scandals involving the agri-food industry have led us to question our production methods and consumption habits. Jordan Fabioux, digital consultant at Square Management, talks about the transition of the restaurant sector.

The last few years have been marked by profound changes. Economic, environmental, health crises and, more recently, food industry scandals have raised questions about our production methods and consumption habits. The French are looking for meaning, transparency and there is an obvious awareness on an ecological level. Therefore, the questioning of a decidedly greener approach is at the center of the debate today, and the consumption of ethical and responsible products has become a manifesto of environmental values. It is common to find organic shelves in supermarkets, and the number of specialty chains continues to grow. This ecological transition has also had a strong impact on the catering sector.

Since 2020, the Michelin Guide, the emblem and showcase of French gastronomy, has presented the green star, an annual award that honors all restaurants and chefs who are continuously designated. This new system testifies to the interest given to enterprises based on this approach, as well as to the transformation of the market, making Green Marketing a key element of restaurateurs’ strategy.

Green Marketing or “Green Marketing” is a strategy aimed at taking action for the environment and, more broadly, redefining its offering in favor of an eco-responsible approach.

New ambassadors of ethical and ecological standards, reasons for ecological transition

If the green trend does not start today, it has become inevitable and word of mouth trade is expected next.

From consumer to consumer-actor, social causes.
Restaurant owners must now face the expectations of conscious, increasingly demanding consumers who have become consumers. The time for “greenwashing” is over, the French expect real commitments on environmental responsibility. Because while it is true that we are paying more attention to what we eat now – organic produce, seasonality, short cycles, there is a real need to follow an approach that is logical, effective and reflects values. defended. Eat better yes, but eat responsibly.

environmental reasons.
It should be noted that the catering sector is at the forefront when it comes to environmental problems. According to a study by Ademe, food generates about 25% of greenhouse gas emissions in France, only partially through the production and delivery of food that will end up on the plate. Beyond the issues of reducing the carbon footprint, the effects of overproduction are clear: pesticides, intensive farming methods, food waste. Many factors to consider in the green strategy of food establishments.

Economic reasons.
Finally, in addition to the mentioned environmental reasons, the economic aspect is also a driving force in the ecological transition of the sector. We talked about food waste above, and for good reason, according to ADEME, the catering world throws away 1.6 million tons of edible food a year in France. A more responsible approach offers many alternatives aimed at better managing resources and therefore better managing costs.

The pillars of Green Marketing are at the service of restaurateurs

Green Marketing revolves around the 4 pillars of the Marketing Mix which are product, price, distribution (place in English) and promotion.

Green product.
Sustainable cuisine begins with careful selection of products. Indeed, green hats favor organic farming products purchased from local and ethical producers that limit the production of plastic and non-recyclable waste. Respect for seasonality is also an important factor that allows us to bet on the quality and freshness of processed products. And the establishment’s menu will bring clarity and consistency to the chef’s vision: a small number of choices on the menu and a menu that changes according to the seasons, respect for the environment, craftsmanship and quality assurance. The description of the dishes may also emphasize working with farmers, breeders or fishermen. This also applies to the wine list, which can be made with independent winemakers who produce organically. You have to tell a story, make sense and play the transparency card. Finally, there are many options to emphasize your eco-responsible wishes on the plate: offer homemade dishes, cook the ingredients completely (skin, peels, tops, peels), work with forgotten and uncalibrated vegetables, reuse leftovers to limit food waste or more. just provide micro-filtered water.

Green price.
Of course, the prices charged in green restaurants are somewhat higher, but they are justified by the quality, origin and freshness of the products. Moreover, it is not an obstacle for consumers who are willing to pay the price in return if the obligations are fulfilled. The green transition comes at a price, it’s true, but with such strong demand, the return on investment is clear.

Green place.
A restaurateur who wants to be sustainable offers a cuisine that is consistent with his values, and this also includes applying those values ​​within the establishment. In 2020 and 2021, plastic and other single-use containers were banned, giving way to biodegradable alternatives, especially in retail packaging. But there are many other ways to work. Businesses that start out by offering plates more suited to customers’ appetites can greatly reduce losses. In addition to being design, equipping your facility with recycled or second-hand materials is the logic of the circular economy. Avoiding the use of paper tablecloths and prioritizing table cleaning will limit unnecessary waste. Likewise, the use of compost is a sustainable solution for treating biodegradable waste. Installing water savers and LED lamps is also a good alternative to limit the consumption of businesses. Finally, apps like Too Good To Go or handing out a doggy bag at the end of a meal are solutions that help prevent food waste.

Green Promotion.
Various digital communication channels (website, social networks) are very good tools to promote the ecologically responsible dreams of the enterprise. In addition, the digital ecosystem is a favorable playground for image and story development.

Finally and to conclude, there are many associations and labels that support and defend the ecological transition of restaurateurs: Ecotable Label, Michelin Guide, Slow Food International, etc.
If the transformation of the sector is not obvious, it is undeniable that the numerous actors, initiatives and strategies adopted have contributed to its sustainability.

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