Eateries committed to a better world…
When asked the name their top socially conscious restaurants, Sopexa’s staff members around the world confirm that in 2019, the top trend in dining out is clearly “Good for you and good for the planet.” You can’t have one without the other. But the mobilisation of restaurateurs doesn’t stop there.
“Good in your plate and good for the planet”
A sign of the times, labels dedicated to #ECOFRIENDLY #ANTIWASTE #ZEROFOOTPRINT restaurants are bourgeoning. One of the latest such labels in France is called Ecotable. It lists restaurants and food shops taking into account their efforts to minimise their environmental impact based on three levels of commitment. Another initiative, the “Anti-waste restaurants” label, ensures that “the entire supply chain, up to and including waste processing” is designed to fight waste. Its 2018 map of anti-waste restaurants in France can be seen on the Framheim website (in French). In North America, the Zero FoodPrint association helps US restaurateurs who wish to be part of the #zerowaste movement and is active internationally. In Quebec, the circuit zéro déchet (“zero waste circuit”) identifies all shops, including restaurants, which are active in the movement.
From banning the use of plastic straws and cups and curbing the carbon footprint to making doggy bags more widely available and creating apps to help distribute unsold food, there is an eco-friendly eatery for everyone!
In Paris, SIMONE LEMONE is the city’s go-to eco-friendly dining spot. Simone Lemone offers generous portions made using the outcasts of the gastronomy world: ugly fruits and veggies, provided by local farmers. Here, the concept is simple: help yourself at a large central buffet and pay by the weight!
In the United Kingdom, try out the SPREAD EAGLE vegan pub. Vegan cafés are popping up like mushrooms in the land of Shepherd’s pie, and more particularly in London. The trend became particularly big a year ago with the January 2018 opening of this first entirely vegan pub.
In Hong Kong, where meat-eating is part of the local DNA (the country has some of the world’s highest per capita meat consumption), chefs like Peggy Chan, who advocates “socially responsible” food, embody alternative fine dining. Indeed, in 2012, Peggy – frustrated by the limited choice of eateries serving organic and vegetarian fare – opened her first restaurant, GRASSROOTS PANTRY. Her sophisticated vegetarian cuisine soon became a hit with local taste buds. Her popularity and many fans have played an important role in the development of eco-friendly vegetarian cuisine in Hong Kong, in line with new consumer wants and needs.
Another Hong Kong dining spot, MANA!, is also fighting for zero food waste. Its owner is behind a movement of restaurants and brasseries committed to this cause and to providing free water for all. The restaurant raises awareness of the importance of food that helps to save the planet instead of destroying it.
In Delhi, India, ANNAMAYA is a lovely place that aims to boost awareness of food-related issues. Its motto: “Eat mindful, shop artisanal and raise awareness.” Some 90% of the products used are locally produced, and all of the restaurant’s waste is composted and recycled. Located at Andaz Delhi in Aerocity, near IGI Airport, AnnaMaya also exists to help the local community through menus revolving around locally sourced organic artisanal products.
In Canada, the #ZeroWaste movement is starting to gather steam: go try out the LA BUVETTE DU CENTRO bistro-bar, which aims to be first waste-free eatery in Sherbrooke and the Estrie region of Quebec. As the city does not offer composting and recycling services for businesses, they need to use their imagination to find new solutions (for example, teaming up with a startup that is researching organic materials (compost) to feed larvae that they use to make organic flour). La Buvette has also opted for a social financing strategy in order to mobilize consumers to buy into the concept.
In Germany, ERASMUS, in Karlsruhe, Bade-Wurtemberg, is committed to serving seasonal cuisine, using fine quality products, with a French, Italian and German touch. A member of Slow Food Deutschland e.V. and Bio-Spitzenköche (for top chefs), Erasmus has two priorities: working with the finest locally sourced products, 90% of which are certified organic and, for meat, compliant with Demeter label standards; and “homemade” fare. This restaurant does not bill for water, or rather donates 100% of its water sales to Viva con agua, an association working to improve the supply of drinking water in developing countries.
In China, the GUNG HO! pizzeria group, founded by two New Zealanders, promises the healthiest, finest-quality pizzas in Beijing, and is committed to having the lightest possible environmental and social impact. The group makes its own “alternative” dough – whole wheat, gluten-free and low-carb paleo – and uses fresh toppings. Gung Ho! Pizza was the 3rd company to obtain B Corp certification in China, in 2016, and is today the only restaurant group on the continent to be certified. This label is awarded to companies that meet high standards for social and environmental performance, transparency towards the public, legal liability, commitment to fighting climate change and sex discrimination, well-being at work and more.
In the United States, EVERYTABLE promotes healthy eating in areas that are so-called “food deserts”, where communities have little access to healthy, nutritionally balanced food. With its motto “Quality. Equality.”, this eatery offers simple meals, made with fresh products, that anyone can afford. It has already opened 8 restaurants in Los Angeles.