As a build up to the Your Choice networking event Vredeseilanden organized a round-table conference with contract caterers. The subject: “How can contract caterers contribute to improved sustainability performance in social catering?” The introduction was given by Saartje Boutsen of Vredeseilanden.
The global food issue on our plate
The current agricultural system is globally under pressure. We are faced with many challenges: by the year 2050, 9 billion people will have to be fed; the demand for food is rising while the available resources are decreasing; climate changes have significant consequences for agricultural production; intensive agricultural methods foster soil erosion and higher CO2 emissions; land-grabbing compromises the land of small-scale farmers and fosters the concentration of power; food speculation continuously pushes food prices upwards and the producer as the weakest player in the chain often doesn’t get a viable price for his produce any more. A variety of studies in past years (UN, World Bank, FAO, IFAD,..) argument that investing more and working on a model of family farming and sustainable agricultural techniques can be economically profitable, socially fair and environmentally friendly. Therefore, Vredeseilanden aims at farmers who earn a decent income from sustainable agriculture in order to escape from poverty, feed the world and decrease pressure on the planet. To this end, Vredeseilanden has programmes in the South, but also here in the North. One of the pillars of this North programme is making the out-of-home food market more sustainable, focusing on social catering. Vredeseilanden has achieved a long-standing experience with coaching routes on sustainability in industrial kitchens.
However, Vredeseilanden alone will not be able to realize large-scale sustainability in social catering. Levers are needed thereto. Contract caterers can realize a leverage effect through a sustainability policy, as they serve tens of thousands of meals per day. Between 2014 and 2017, contract caterers will serve an average of 3,7% more meals in social catering (growth of health care, education, outsourcing of the governments market,…). And as we want to work precisely on those lever effects, we would like to go in dialogue with you today.