Food giants launch online sustainability site to meet changing consumer demands

Sustainable food news – by GreenWise staff

2nd November 2015

Bidvest Foodservice and a ‘green alliance’ made up of food industry giants, Unilever, Premier Foods, Delifrance UK, Vegware, and Jacobs Douwe Egberts have today launched plate2planet, a ‘one-stop-shop’ digital platform that aims to address the growing demand in the food sector for useful and practical information about sustainability.

“Our customers, and those of our plate2planet partners, care deeply about sustainability and operators across the industry are taking measures to tackle the challenges,” said Shirley Duncalf, head of Sustainability at Bidvest Foodservice.

The platform will share green knowledge, including ‘how to’ guides, case studies, handy tools, supply chain stories, guidance on regulations and best practice examples for those working in the industry.

Duncalf said plate2planet’s collective wealth of knowledge was “unparalleled” in the industry. “Our aim, in sharing these resources in a single space, is to support the entire industry to make small but effective changes which can ultimately have a huge impact on a global scale, and on profit margins. Our message is that by working together we can truly enact positive change,” she said.

A recent survey by the Sustainable Restaurant Association revealed that 83 per cent of consumers said sustainability directly affects their dining choices. Bidvest said making sustainable business choices is a challenge for caterers to navigate, who face ever-evolving changes to sustainability policy and regulation as well as to consumer demands.

“Caterers are looking to drive successful green initiatives that truly add value to their own community, customers and their bottom line but many of them tell us they do not have the resources to research trends, find new suppliers or dissect complicated reports and Government documents,” Duncalf said.

Commenting on the launch, Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods, said: “We are thrilled to be involved in this initiative. At Premier Foodservice we believe we have a crucial role in helping to build a sustainable future for the industry and we’re continually looking for ways to reduce our environmental footprint and minimise our impact; whether that’s through the sourcing of local ingredients, reducing emissions or buying responsibly to ensure the upmost quality and authenticity of our products. We believe this is an excellent platform for the foodservice industry to share best practice and work collaboratively in driving the sustainability agenda forward.”

Peter Bolger, national account controller for Bidvest at Unilever Food Solutions, added: “The launch of the new digital platform is perfectly in line with Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, which is our blueprint for sustainable business.

“We are excited and pleased to be associated to this initiative and to join hands with Bidvest to create a space where people can share and learn about news and opportunities around sustainability.”

Also partnering on the site is Planet First, the sustainability consultancy that provides The Planet Mark a certification for organisations that want to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to sustainability. Bidvest is the first food service company to sign up to The Planet Mark and is keen to see its suppliers adopt the ‘kitemark’. 

Steve Malkin, ceo Planet First and founder of The Planet Mark, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering on Plate2Planet. 90% of BidvestFoodservices’ customers claim sustainability is important to their business and at Planet First and The Planet Mark we believe every organisation can be sustainable and can contribute to a planet where everyone can thrive.

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