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5 trends reshaping hospitality's approach to sustainability

Written by
Lizzie Lynch
4
min read
January 16, 2024

The hospitality industry is at a crucial juncture in its sustainability journey. With customer awareness and expectations at an all-time high, the sector is rapidly adapting to new eco-friendly trends. A recent national survey by SKOOT and YouGov underscores this shift: a staggering 77% of adults believe restaurants need to ramp up their sustainability efforts. Here are five trends reshaping the industry in 2024:

1. Eco-Dining revolution

The rise of eco-dining is more than a trend – it's a movement. Today's diners are not just concerned about what they eat but also how their dining choices impact the environment. Restaurants are responding by incorporating sustainable practices, like SKOOT's eco-contribution solution, which seamlessly integrates eco-consciousness into the dining experience allowing diners to contribute to initiatives like tree planting for a small fee.

This trend is gaining momentum as it aligns with the preferences of 76% of diners who believe in the importance of certified plastic removal practices. Restaurants are responding by eliminating unnecessary plastics and utilising SKOOT’s eco-contribution to stop plastic from entering the ocean thanks to its partnership with Plastic Bank. 

2. Sustainable sourcing

Local and ethical sourcing is no longer a bonus, it's becoming the expected standard. This shift extends beyond reducing carbon footprints; it's about supporting local communities and ensuring the longevity of food sources.

A 2022 report by the World Wildlife Fund found that sourcing locally builds resilience within food systems and supports local economies. Restaurants are forging partnerships with sustainable farms and producers, strengthening these vital connections. This farm-to-table approach is becoming increasingly popular, with a focus on seasonal and organic produce., ensuring responsible land management and sustainable agricultural practices. A 2021 study by the Journal of Environmental Management found that consumers are increasingly opting for locally sourced and organic food, driving this trend further.

3. Waste reduction and management

Minimising waste is essential, and restaurants are implementing innovative strategies like composting and recycling programs. A 2023 report by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) highlighted the effectiveness of composting in reducing food waste by up to 50%. Many restaurants are adopting waste management systems that divert food scraps and other materials from landfills.

Instead of discarding leftovers, restaurants are getting creative! Chefs are transforming scraps into new dishes, reducing food waste while showcasing culinary innovation. A 2022 study by the International Journal of Hospitality Management found that diners appreciate restaurants that minimise food waste through creative reuse.

4. Carbon menu modification

Transparency is key, and carbon footprint labelling is gaining traction, with a growing number of restaurants listing carbon footprints alongside dishes. This practice, once a novelty adopted by a few pioneers, is rapidly moving towards becoming an industry standard. Forbes recently reported on Hilton Hotels' ambitious initiative to display carbon footprints on menus across its 6,000+ properties by 2025, highlighting the growing trend of menu transparency and its potential impact on consumer choices.

A 2023 study by the University of Cambridge's Institute for Sustainability Leadership found that carbon footprint labelling on menus significantly influences consumers' food choices. By providing this information, restaurants empower diners to make informed decisions and reduce their environmental impact. By informing customers of the carbon tonnes used in their meals, restaurants empower diners to make more environmentally conscious choices, fostering a culture of responsibility and awareness. A 2022 report by Deloitte predicts that carbon footprint labelling will be commonplace in menus across various industries by 2025.

5. Educational initiatives and transparency

Transparency is key in the sustainability journey. Restaurants are not only adopting sustainable practices but are also educating customers about their efforts. This includes displaying sustainability certifications, sharing sourcing stories, and providing insights into their eco-friendly operations. Consumers are curious about the journey of their food. Restaurants are engaging guests by sharing information about their sourcing practices, building trust and fostering connections.

SKOOT provides all hospitality businesses with a virtual impact dashboard which showcases the steps they are making and brings customers along for the journey to create a ripple effect of positive change. 

Embracing change for a sustainable future

As these trends indicate, sustainability in hospitality is not just a fleeting concern; it's an essential component of business strategy. The industry is realising that sustainable practices are not only beneficial for the planet but also for their bottom line, as they align with consumer values and demands. SKOOT's eco-contribution solution and the findings from our YouGov survey highlight the growing importance of environmental responsibility in dining experiences.

The hospitality sector's commitment to sustainability is not just about meeting current standards but setting new ones for the future. As we move through 2024, these trends will continue to shape the industry, creating a more sustainable, responsible, and customer-centric hospitality experience.

Lizzie Lynch

Our marketing and content guru. She crafts captivating blogs, press pieces, and strategic marketing plans, giving life to our brand's vision. Lizzie's passion and expertise drive our engaging outreach efforts.