28 | 06 | 2022

CSR: implementation of a healthier approach requested by consumers

In the restaurant industry, the CSR (social and environmental responsibility) approach is increasingly requested by consumers.

It is now the food in short circuit, therefore local, which takes precedence, with the emphasis on social (local producers, working conditions, etc.) and the environment.

Discover with our experts the ways to implement a healthy CSR approach, solicited by committed consumers, but which nevertheless has some limitations.

CSR, an incentive to (re)think our consumption

The approach is not new, but through consumers, the trend has accelerated.

It is up to restaurant owners to adapt by offering organic or local products, controlling the origins of the products and the preparation for healthier dishes that respect humans and biodiversity.

But the social and environmental responsibility approach is complex as it is necessary to think about all the parameters such as the reduction of the energy footprint, the carbon footprint or the use of packaging.

Local suppliers in the front line

The choice of suppliers is the first parameter of a CSR more adapted to the desires of consumers. This involves several criteria such as:

  • Well-being and improved working conditions
  • Rationalized and local agriculture
  • Lower carbon footprint with reduced packaging and more environmentally friendly transport.

In France, many suppliers are getting on board like Pomona, which launched in 2021 "Good and Committed" thus removing artificial flavors and limiting additives; or Métro, which is committed to expanding its CSR commitment.

As a restaurant owner, choosing a supplier committed to a CSR approach is essential to satisfy your customers and offer quality products.

Labels to guide consumers

The high demand for eco-friendly products also leads to a multitude of requirements and certifications.

For suppliers, restaurateurs and consumers alike, there are labels that certify compliance with rules and guarantee quality and CSR whether for manufacturing, transport or location.

France Boissons, for example, has had the "sustainable development" label on its 71 distribution sites since 2021. Richards Coffee, meanwhile, has obtained the confirmed level of the "Engaged CSR Label" issued by Afnor.

CSR hindered by several factors

While the social and environmental responsibility approach may seem like the dream solution, it comes up against several issues including price inflation. In the current context, it is sometimes difficult to reconcile respect for the environment, working conditions and attractive prices in catering.

Inflation, a stopper for the CSR approach?

Inflation is apparent in all sectors. But in food, organic and eco-responsible products are suffering the most. Every day prices threaten to soar. Purchasing power is decreasing and the decline in attendance of establishments favoring CSR approaches also go hand in hand with soaring food prices.

The current context does not favor responsible products and, while the market still remains interesting, the quality catering sector is likely to experience complicated months.

Packaging, a major challenge

Removal of plastic, sorting of 5 streams (paper, metals, glass, wood plastics) etc. Legislation is increasingly demanding regarding waste management. Since 2016, companies, businesses, local authorities and administrations must carry out 5-stream waste sorting.

While reducing packaging is a major challenge, it is essential in a CSR approach and is one of the strongest expectations of customers. According to a Deliverect study published on April 22, 69 he French consider it important to have sustainable packaging, and 60% prefer to order from restaurants that eliminate excess packaging.

To limit packaging, producers are increasingly offering alternatives to restaurant owners such as the deposit system to reuse containers:

  • Favor glass or returnable kegs with bottles that can be reused up to twenty times.
  • Systems like Acti'Verre (France Boissons) install a glass crusher directly at the professionals' homes to promote storage and save space.

Innovations at the service of CSR

Despite the difficulties, CSR is resilient and restaurateurs want to commit to it on a massive scale; it's not just a fad of a few restaurants. This is where innovation can play a role in balancing the balance between unfavorable prices and a willingness to move toward a healthier approach.

All restaurateurs are planning on an eco-design that will promote social and solidarity-based approaches.

Every year, trade shows showcase innovations to eliminate plastic, promote disinfectants without toxic products or set up composters to reduce food waste as well.

CSR applies to suppliers, restaurateurs and consumers alike. Everyone at their own level can contribute.

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