Concern about the environment among British diners has grown by nearly 40 per cent since the pandemic struck, according to fresh polling from the Sustainable Restaurant Association
The percentage of consumers concerned about the environment has increased since the onset of the coronavirus crisis and the majority of diners are now willing to swap their usual menu choices for more sustainable dishes, a new poll from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) has revealed.
In a study published today, the organisation has found that 65 per cent of diners admitted to be concerned about the environment, a significant increase from 47 per cent recorded before lockdown measures were introduced to tackle Covid-19.
In addition, two thirds of diners surveyed said they would be likely or very likely to try a restaurant's most sustainable dish over their regular favourite.
SRA chief executive Andrew Stephen urged diners to use the "power of their appetites" to address the climate emergency while supporting the ailing restaurant industry.
"Every single one of us can make a difference and if we truly want to eat out to help out the crisis-stricken restaurant sector and planet we must make good on our intentions by choosing the places that are sourcing and serving fantastic food that protects the environment as well as adhering to all the government guidelines," he said.
The study also revealed that more than three quarters of consumers said they would either consider, be likely, or be very likely to order a dish that had ingredients that might otherwise be headed for the bin.
The SRA has calculated that nearly 370,000 tonnes of CO2 - the equivalent of the lifetime carbon footprint of more than 150,000 people - could be saved if half the people who said they would be willing to switch to a more sustainable dish did so once normal dining patterns resume.
SRA president Raymond Black emphasised the restaurant industry has a responsibility to steer consumers to more sustainable choices.
"As chefs, we not only have to source and serve food that tastes amazing and has a minimal impact on the environment, but also show people what sustainable food looks like," he said. "The potential rewards are enormous for restaurants, our networks of local growers and of course the planet," he added.
The SRA's poll also revealed that more than three quarters of consumers want to return to pre-lockdown eating out routine once government guidelines are relaxed.
It comes after the organisation called on the government to slash VAT on low carbon restaurant dishes at BusinessGreen's inaugural Net Zero Festival.
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