There’s no doubt that interest in sustainability has grown over the last year, with 50% of consumers saying they care more about the environment now than they did pre-pandemic. In fact, new research by Brita Vivreau has found that nearly half of consumers (45%) would not use a catering company if it had no sustainability measures in place.
You might think this is great for those that do, but consumers will still have questions about the impact and benefits of sustainability measures. So how can public sector caterers elevate their sustainability credentials and better communicate these to win the attention, trust and, more importantly, business of potential customers?
There are some simple steps to help you achieve all of these goals.
Reconsider your measures
If you claim to be a sustainable operator, then most (75%) consumers expect you to recycle cardboard, glass and plastic as a minimum, while just over half think this should also include measures such as no single-use plastics, limited food waste and offering reusable products.
Whether it’s a case of reviewing current sustainability measures in place or how these are communicated, there’s an opportunity to go above and beyond to wow your target customer.
Get creative with your communication
Talking about sustainability can be quite dry, so it’s great to bring the impact of your actions to life in more visual ways.
As 60% of consumers want to understand how any measures make a difference to the environment and 44% want to know how their own involvement supports change, there’s a real opportunity to get creative with your comms and excite your customers.
For example, many of us know that a filtered water dispenser helps to remove the need for single-use plastic bottles and therefore reduce waste to landfill, but did you know that if 100 people each drink approximately one litre of filtered water daily from a dispenser rather than plastic bottled water, it saves the equivalent of 506kg of plastic waste a year? That’s about the weight of a new-born grey whale.
Be honest and transparent
While being sustainable clearly has its advantages, for 62% of consumers it comes with the worry of increased cost, while 41% are also concerned catering companies may claim to be more sustainable than they are.
So it is important to stay honest and transparent with your offering, even if you currently have only a few measures in place. Use them as a talking point to discuss future ambitions and focus on savings across a longer time period.
Don’t leave sustainability as an afterthought
Food quality, prices and reputation remain the most important factors to consumers, but it’s important to remember that 45% wouldn’t use a catering company if they weren’t sustainable, so this needs to be front and centre of your communications.
Consider your network
Consider other suppliers with similar values you could partner with to expand your offering and bolster your position on sustainability. Over a third of consumers want to know about other businesses you work with which share similar values.