Consumers are demanding more engagement on sustainability from hospitality operators, according to CGA and UKHospitality’s latest Future Shock report.
The new report includes data from a major survey of environmental and ethical issues across restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels. It found that 83.1% of people now expect hospitality brands to “engage on at least some aspects of sustainability”.
The leading consumer concern was the ethical sourcing of food and drink, with 64.6% of respondents now expecting to see this from their hospitality brands.
Some 53% wanted more environmentally friendly packaging, while 50.3% wanted to see evidence of reduced carbon footprint through menu engineering and commodity usage.
The report also revealed that “significant numbers” of consumers were prepared to pay extra for sustainable practices. Out of all respondents, 40.6% said they would spend more for ethically sourced food and drink, while 25.2% said they would pay a premium for environmentally friendly packaging.
However, 43.4% of consumers said higher costs “cannot be justified” by these measures. CGA said this 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”.
UKHospitality 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 further.”
Karl Chessell, business unit director, food and retail at CGA, 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.”