Customers demand sustainability at pubs and restaurants

By Alice Leader contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sustainable outlook: consumers want to see the sector to be more environmentally friendly
Sustainable outlook: consumers want to see the sector to be more environmentally friendly

Related tags: Sustainability

Operators need to show genuine commitment to sustainability because more than four in five people expect hospitality businesses to have some eco-friendly qualities, new research reveals.

A report produced by CGA in association with UKHospitality (UKH) titled Future Shock​, includes data from environmental and ethical issues across restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels that showed consumers’ number one concern as being ethically sourced food and drink. 

Two thirds of people (64.6%) expect to see these practices in place when they visit a hospitality venue, and around half (53.9%) want to find environmentally friendly packaging.

A tough choice

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Sustainability is arguably the key issue of our time. It will become more important and hospitality needs to lead efforts to promote sustainability yet further.”

Future Shock​ also claims significant numbers of consumers are prepared to pay extra for sustainable practices.

Two in five (40.6%) say they would spend more for ethically sourced food and drink, and a quarter (25.2%) would pay a premium for environmentally friendly packaging and 22.7% for a reduced carbon footprint.

However, 43.4% of consumers say higher costs cannot be justified by measures like these, which presents operators with a tough choice: to absorb the costs of investment in sustainability or pass them on to consumers and risk a hit to sales.

The mounting importance 

Consumers are challenging hospitality businesses to respond to many more big sustainability driven changes, Future Shock​ shows. But the report also recognises extensive investment in sustainability across the hospitality sector, supported by UKH and its work with government.

CGA business unit director for food and retail Karl Chessell said: “Our research for this edition of Future Shock​ highlights the mounting importance of sustainability in consumers’ choices and behaviour.

“The environmental impacts of restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels are under intense scrutiny, and all operators will need to demonstrate a genuine commitment to sustainability as we enter the new decade.”

Related topics: Food trends

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