The next culinary revolution

The restaurant of the future should necessarily be sustainable. This is the feeling that is perceived in the gastronomic panorama, and that has been increased by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2016, the American National Restaurant Association already stated that this would be the main trend for the next decade. What elements and processes will guide this necessary transformation of the sector?

The element with the greatest impact on gastronomic sustainability is the raw material, especially when it comes from distant places. A sustainable restaurant should use local products. This would save transport energy, promote the local or regional economy, and promote the recovery or conservation of native species.

Another key aspect is waste, which should be minimised. This forces the creation of circular economy structures, that is, all the material that is eliminated in the restaurant should be able to be used again in one way or another. In this sense, what to do with the rejection should be studied: the skins or other waste of the fruit could be used for new elaborations or to obtain compost for the restaurant’s orchard, clients or suppliers. Likewise, logistics should be designed to avoid storing the fruit in cold storage, in order to reduce energy consumption.

Packaging recycling seems like an easier task, but its applicability in restaurants has proven to be complex. Agreements must be established with suppliers to avoid disposable containers, especially those made of plastic. The ideal is to design a supply structure in which the container is returned to be filled again with the same type of product (fish, meat, plants, etc.). This approach has repercussions on the economy of the restaurant, since in the traditional methodology the containers are accumulated and then emptied into the appropriate containers, which consumes space and staff time.

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