Food service industry must unite for sustainable growth

30 April, 2013

Unilever Food Solutions, the food service division of Unilever, is sharing its ambition to help chefs globally make 200 million meals daily healthier, tastier and more enjoyable by 2020.

With the food service industry and its tens of millions of chefs around the world busy preparing dishes in 17.5 million outlets every minute, small steps taken towards reducing food waste and calories on menus, when multiplied by tens of millions, can make a big difference. 

Yezdi Daruwalla, managing director of Unilever Food Solutions, said: "Reducing food waste and making food healthier and tastier are some of the biggest challenges for operators across the industry.

"However when given the right tools and information, operators can run a more profitable and efficient business by reducing their waste and the risk of compromising health and safety regulations.

"Unilever Food Solutions can help by providing operators with the tools to reduce waste and offer healthier and tastier to their guests. We are committed to our global aim of helping chefs make 200 million meals daily healthier, tastier and more enjoyable by 2020. To achieve this though, the industry must work together," Daruwalla said.

Unilever Food Solutions is serious about contributing to the sustainability targets of its parent company Unilever. The sustainable living targets, announced in 2010, aim to double the size of the business whilst reducing its environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact.

Alongside helping chefs make meals healthier, tastier and more enjoyable by 2020, Unilever Food Solutions is attempting to drive change in the following areas: helping chefs to run a more efficient kitchen and reduce their waste; sustainably sourcing 100 per cent of agricultural raw materials by 2020; and helping chefs to improve food safety in their kitchen.

"The food service industry in Australia feeds millions of people daily and with scale comes responsibility. This is why we launched Good Food Week in 2012, with the aim to help fight the growing obesity epidemic in Australia," Daruwalla said.

In October 2012, Unilever Food Solutions in Australia created a week long initiative, Good Fork Week, to encourage restaurants and chefs across Australia to tweak their menu to be slightly more nutritious. Partnering with Obesity Prevention Australia and celebrity chef Christine Manfield, the initiative was a success with over 300 restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs participating across the country.

Due to the success of the inaugural campaign, the Good Fork Week initiative was launched in New Zealand in March 2013 and garnered the support of the industry, as well as campaign partner Nutrition New Zealand.

Unilever Food Solutions executive chef, Mark Baylis, said: "Every food service business wants to survive and grow, but we must do it sustainably and it needs to make business sense. 

"Implementing a waste management program reduces waste and cost, providing healthier menu options improves guest satisfaction and their health, and choosing sustainably grown ingredients benefits the planet and improves the taste. It's a win-win for everyone," Baylis said.