Sustainability: A Winning Trend in 2020.
Sustainability is on high on the agenda in Australia, and the food industry is no exception. The recent fires that have devastated large swathes of Australia have highlighted the need to care for the environment and for endangered species. One area that we see growing in 2020 is the introduction of sustainable food production, with a focus on preserving our land and improving our environment, while protecting the welfare of industry workers. Below you’ll find sustainable food trends and the industry professionals who are leading the way.
Sustainable farming helps preserve the environment for future generations. When growers and producers use sustainable methods, soil health improves and noxious weeds decrease. Healthy topsoil can absorb carbon dioxide and reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Organic farming methods reduce the presence of harmful pesticides and chemical fertilisers in the environment.
Sustainable cattle farming benefits the environment as well as consumers, because it relies on natural cycles and well-managed managed pasturelands, ultimately resulting in higher quality beef. For example, industrial cattle farms use heavily irrigated corn for feed, while sustainable farms feed their cattle rain-fed forage and grasses, which improves pasture land and reduces the need for chemicals and synthetic hormones.
Farm to Table
Many restaurants grow their own ingredients or buy their ingredients from local growers. Known as “farm to table,” this practice helps small to medium farms and cuts down on transportation costs and harmful emissions. Locally grown food is more fresh and flavourful than produce that has travelled long distances.
A leader in farm-to-table dining is chef Dan Hunter, owner of Brae in Birregurra, Victoria. He serves ethically grown, organic produce from Brae’s farm and from local farmers.
Food Without Waste
Two types of sustainable food production help reduce waste. The “nose-to-tail” method uses an entire animal for food, including intestines, heart, and other less frequently used parts. Chef Colin Fassnige of Banksia serves popular nose-to-tail dishes, such as slow cooked beef cheek and suckling pig sausage roll.
“No-waste” is another sustainable method that reduces waste in the food industry. Many restaurants, such as Three Blue Ducks in Bronte, are using biodegradable takeaway containers and donating food waste to community gardens.
Seafood has become a focal point for the sustainable food movement. Consumers and food industry leaders are seeking alternatives to fishing practices that harm marine life and people. For example, longlining involves the use of thousands of baited hooks that catch endangered species as well as the target fish. Slave labour is also sometimes used in the tuna industry. Sustainable fishing methods include pole and line fishing, as well as the introduction of fair labour standards.
Chef Josh Niland has been a leader in sustainable seafood since 2016, when he opened his Saint Peter restaurant in Sydney. His sustainable seafood practices include:
- Local and sustainable fish species
- Inclusion of offal or lesser used fish parts in dishes
- Dry-ageing to preserve fish and reduce waste
With the trend toward sustainability, consumers are more open minded about eating dishes that contain offal. Ingredients may include fish liver, heart, and bones. Inland, for example, serves up a Coral Trout head Terrine at Saint Peter.
Benefits of Sustainability
Sustainability is a winning idea for the food industry. Less waste, lower transportation costs, and fresher ingredients are just some of the benefits. Of course, the real value comes from caring for the planet. Consumers and food industry professionals alike can all feel good about sustainable foods.