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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

'Meat Free Week'

by Sophie Haigh | Read time: 5 minutes | Jun 18, 2019

What is World Meat Free Week?
June marked the sixth year of Meat Free Week, an initiative to get people thinking and talking about meat consumption and production. The challenge is simple; to give up meat for seven days and raise funds for charities, including Meat Free Monday in the UK, which helps to fund education resources, marketing, research, cooking workshops and special events.

Why does it matter?
In a study carried out by the University of Oxford - the most comprehensive analysis of the food system’s impact on the environment to date, researchers found that beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses. Enormous changes to farming are also needed to avoid destroying the planet’s ability to feed the 10 billion people estimated to be living on Earth in a few decades.

Researchers have said that there needs to be a large global shift towards following a flexitarian diet to prevent the global temperature increase from breaching the 2C limit agreed by governments. Livestock are responsible for creating as much greenhouse gas emissions as all the world’s cars, trucks and aeroplanes put together.

Forging a pound of beef is the equivalent of taking one car off the road and it takes 500 gallons of water to grow one pound of chicken meat, an amount that could be used to make five pounds of potatoes or three loaves of bread; in turn creating a smaller carbon footprint but feeding more people. Taking small steps to reduce our meat intake can have a positive impact on the environment and the future of our planet.

How is NCASS involved?
Sustainability has become a hot topic for caterers in the past few years. Festival and street food organisers are increasingly looking towards sustainable ways to feed hundreds of people at events without having too much of a negative impact on the environment. Here at NCASS, we strive to create an industry that protects the environment, as demonstrated in our partnership with 8th Plate, a food salvage scheme with a mission to turn festival food waste into nutritious meals for people visiting food banks and soup kitchens.  

We’ve also come together with other live events industry specialists to pledge our support to Powerful Thinking’s Festival Vision: 2025, an initiative aimed at reducing festival impacts by 50% by 2025, in line with government targets. Festival Vision: 2025 will provide free-to-use and practical sustainability resources for caterers, including a second edition of the environment report, The Show Must Go On. You can get involved in the crowdfunder page here.

How you can help
There are many ways to reduce the impact that your business is having on the environment. Caterers looking to make the first steps in helping the environment can start by changing their packaging to bio-degradable alternatives, such as Biopac’s plastic free range. Signing up to food salvage schemes such as 8th Plate will also help us to save food that would otherwise go to landfill and use it to feed the most vulnerable members of our society.

If you want to learn how to run a catering business that is protecting the environment whilst increasing profits, our Sustainability Training is the perfect solution. 

Covering a variety of areas that are crucial to ensuring sustainability, including sourcing seasonal produce, menu planning, Fairtrade and social responsibility, the course will enable your business to function responsibly in an everchanging industry and take care of the planet for generations to come.

To purchase the course or for more information, visit the NCASS website or call 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!


> Find out more


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