Ethics on the Menu for Most Diners

From paddock-to-plate to meat-free Mondays, Australia’s appetite for eco-friendly food trends is at an all-time high, however most Australians do not understand what sustainable dining actually is.

Written by Open House Magazine.

According to online restaurant reservation platform OpenTable’s latest research, four in five (81 per cent) of Australians believe it is important that the food they eat when dining out is ethically-sourced. Yet, less than half (44 per cent) of the nation can define what sustainable dining means.

Lisa Hasen, vice president APAC of OpenTable, says Australians have become increasingly conscious of the food they eat and where it comes from.

“Factors such as food miles and animal cruelty matter to them, and as a result we are seeing a strong shift within the restaurant industry, with diners gravitating towards venues that engage in sustainable practices,” she said.

“It’s rewarding to see this love of seasonal, eco-friendly food come alive in restaurants on our platform such as acre at Camperdown Commons, The Grounds of Alexandra and Bouche on Bridge, where sustainability is integral to their ethos.”

Nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin, of Network Ten’s Good Chef, Bad Chef, says sustainable dining is sweeping the nation.

“For many this means making a conscious effort to dine at restaurants that plate up ethically-sourced food, whilst others are turning towards a more plant-based diet, such as vegetarianism and veganism,” she said.

It seems young Australians are embracing the trend whole-heartedly, with 76 per cent of those aged between 18 and 24 years old stating that sustainable and ethically-sourced foods are important to their overall dining experience. Further to this, 39 per cent of Gen Y admitted to cutting their meat intake in the past few years.

Australians also feel a sense of responsibility to care for the environment, with 43 per cent of Australians declaring preservation of natural resources as the main reason why they prefer sustainably-sourced food. The ability to reduce and avoid the impact of animal cruelty is also compelling grounds for eating sustainably, and was listed by 42 per cent of those researched.

The desire to eat out sustainably is having a real impact on Australians’ dining choices. When choosing a restaurant to dine at, the use of in-season produce from local suppliers had the greatest pulling power, appealing to more than half (56 per cent) of diners. Other factors that resonate and influence restaurant choice include the practice of giving surplus food to charities (49 per cent); taking active measures to use sustainably-sourced ingredients (40 per cent); and growing their own produce on-site (31 per cent).

Open House Magazine