Green kitchens. It’s a topic that transcends so many different areas but one that operators would be foolish to ignore when you consider the way in which trends are moving.
When I speak with suppliers there is still a clear frustration that attitudes towards specifying energy efficient equipment aren’t as robust as they perhaps would have hoped by now.
There are multiple reasons for us, from historical behaviour and a lack of incentive for change to an inability and unwillingness to invest.
More often than not it is down to the classic capital expenses argument. Purchasing decisions are pegged to a fixed budget and consideration of longer term running or maintenance costs either falls into a completely different budget or isn’t something they wish to dwell on.
I am sure that over time we will start to see this imbalance being addressed due to the many forces currently at work, but it is destined to be a slow burner.
Legislation remains an influencing factor, as we have seen in the refrigeration sector, where minimum energy performance standards have helped draw a line in the sand on what can and can’t be sold in the UK.
Food waste laws in Scotland and Ireland, meanwhile, have forced foodservice operators to think more carefully about this aspect of their business than they have had to in the past and the industry is waiting with bated breath to see how the situation pans out in England and Wales.
Then there is the human and social factor — one of the key reasons that operators adopt greener practices and more efficient equipment is because, quite simply, it’s the right thing do.
Just look at the recent outside pressure placed on restaurants and catering firms around plastic straws. When a movement gains momentum, you suddenly realise how quickly organisations can change their policies and processes if they genuinely wish to do so.
The world of green kitchens and everything that surrounds it is far from clear-cut, but it’s impossible to see how it won’t become a significant driver of catering equipment choice in the years ahead.