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12 sustainability tips that don't cost the earth

Sustainability is becoming more than a moral decision. It’s becoming a business decision.


But it can also be empowering and lead to a better product. Here are some ideas to help you make your food stall more sustainable.

1. Control your portion sizes.

Food left on the plate often goes to landfill and generates methane as it decomposes (which is 20 times worse for the environment than CO2). Simple solution? Smaller portions.

2. Use seasonal produce.

Seasonal produce is cheaper than out-of-season ingredients, tastes better and fresher and is good for the environment. Win win win.

3. Source sustainably and ethically.

Red tractor meat

Check the MSC website or the Greenpeace Seafood Red List for details of fish under threat, then avoid! Look for Red Tractor signs to show that meat has lived under minimum welfare conditions and source locally produced fruit and veg to support your local independent economy.

4. Work leftovers into your menu!

Whether it’s using discarded vegetable ends for stock, surplus meat for stews or vegetables for pickling, reusing leftovers is a money saver and waste-reducer.

5. Use ugly veg and less popular cuts.

Ugly vegetables and fruit

Get to know your suppliers so that, with their help, you can work out the best way to use their produce. Do they have any less popular cuts of meat or ugly vegetables? You can often get high quality flavours at a fraction of the price by accepting less than perfect looks. Plus you’ll be doing the producer a favour!

6. Get composting.

Did you know that by composting unusable food waste you can capture the methane by-product and turn it into fuel?! Ask your local composter if they’ll accept your biodegradable packaging with your waste food and be prepared to provide your own composting bin at markets where the organisers aren’t able to do so.

7. Use the “Just in Time” method.

The Just in Time production method enables you to cut down on waste by using equipment or delivering materials exactly when they are needed. One NCASS member managed to cut their LPG costs by 60% at Glastonbury just by strictly managing when different burners were on and the temperature that each was set to!

8. Turn your waste oil into fuel.

Cooking oil

These days there are lots of biofuel producers who will work with you to turn your waste oil into fuel to power buses, generators and much more.

9. Donate unusable food waste.

Can you use a food waste redistribution service to donate ingredients that would otherwise go to landfill post-market? Try Eighth Plate, FareShare or The Real Junk Food Project.

10. Get your appliances serviced regularly.

How else will you make sure they’re working at optimum efficiency? Be ready to replace inefficient equipment too.

11. Sign up to Takestock.com.

It’s the eBay for unwanted food stock. If you’ve got more stock than you can use, simply auction it before it goes off. Here's where you can sign up.


Takestock.com

12. Inspire your staff.

Make sure they understand the importance of your sustainable practices and set the standards you expect whether you’re there or not.



When it comes to putting changes like these into practice, incremental adjustment is best. Running a sustainable business means that you’ll constantly be looking at your methods and trying to find ways to make them more efficient, improve them or even cut them out altogether.


What suits one business might not necessarily suit yours, so make sure you only make changes where possible and practical. Just don’t forget to tell customers, organisers, bloggers (anyone really!) what you’re doing. These days, people like this stuff!


For more help, take the NCASS sustainability crash course, available at www.ncasstraining.co.uk and half price for NCASS members. Further great sources of information on sustainability in catering and events are A Greener Festival, Julie’s Bicycle, The Sustainable Restaurant Association, Kambe Events and Sustain: The Good Food Guide for Festival and Street Food Caterers.




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Want to talk about membership? Call 0121 603 2524

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Latest News

Brits opting for festivals over summer holidays

by Sophie Haigh | 5 minute read | Jun 14, 2019

‘Brits are choosing festivals over holidays,’ according to new research from Barclaycard.

The cost of holidays rising by 29%, hotter summers in the UK and uncertainties around Brexit are just some of the reasons why a fifth of Brits are choosing to attend more live events this year. Some 32% are seeing a live event as their main summer trip and most importantly, 27% revealed that trying new foods is a main reason to be flocking to muddy fields during the season, placing culinary delights third in a table of the top ten reasons why people attend festivals.

Gone are the days when festival food was just a means to line the stomach. Today, many people are placing as much focus on the food line-up as the music, with street food vendors fast becoming a main attraction at festivals thanks to the abundance of colourful stands and the chance to try new cuisines from across the globe.

The popularity of immersive festivals, whereby attendees can delve into a weekend of music, demonstrations, recreational classes and top-quality food is a key theme for the shift in people’s summer activities. Individuals are becoming less concerned about material things, instead, choosing ‘experiences’ and opportunities for new discoveries.

 Daniel Mathieson, Head of Sponsorship at Barclaycard, commented:

“It’s fascinating to see how live entertainment events have evolved over the past few years. Festivals are no longer just about the music, but about finding opportunities to discover new ways to have fun and make memories, whether that’s taking a yoga class, trying out a new cuisine or seeing a comedian.

“With many events now billed as entertainment hubs offering so much to do and see, it’s not surprising Brits are considering putting off a trip abroad in favour of some festival fun!”

The new findings are a reminder of the contribution that caterers play in giving festival goers the ‘full experience’ when attending events. With summer on the horizon and festival season in full swing, it’s crucial to ensure attention-to-detail when attending events as a caterer. The appearance of your stand, its location and the attitude and knowledge of staff when quizzed about the menu can be the difference between someone returning to you for a second portion, or rather, them warning their group of friends not to try your food.

Being able to demonstrate compliancy is also crucial if you want to prevent disruption to service.

A handy way to get all your relevant paperwork in order is through NCASS Connect, an online hub available to members and non-members, which allows you to get immediate access to legal documentation for any visiting health inspectors.

Other top tips for getting festival ready, include:

  • Making sure that you and your staff have completed all the necessary training in the last three years for the role
  • Sourcing good staff that you can rely on and who are friendly, helpful and have a passion for serving quality food
  • Ensuring you’ve got a contract from the event organiser, listing things such as pitch location, terms and conditions for event location and details of marketing placements
  • Creating a unit that is easy to spot in large crowds. Use boards, music or decorations to draw people over to your stand.

For more information about NCASS Connect, click here or speak to a member of the team on 0121 603 2524.




Did you know...

When you join the association we send you work opportunities directly from Event Organisers via text message. They can also contact you directly via your membership control panel.

When you join up we ask you to write a bit about your business and provide some photos; this, along with your location and the food types you specialise in, is used to automatically create you a profile page so we can show you off to Event Organisers.

You can also share this link to customers and get them to leave you reviews and impress future customers and organisers! There's plenty of other reasons to become a member which you can find here, but we want you to know we've got your back when it comes to marketing too!


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