We hear from Kate Ploughman of Kate’s Kitchen about the positive changes the company is making this year to mark 15 years in business, starting with going electric on all their delivery vans. If you run a food business and are working to reduce your environmental footprint, please get in touch so that we can share your story too.
When I founded Kate’s Kitchen Catering 15 years ago, the environment and sustainability was at the forefront of our business-making decisions, and continues to be so to this day. To celebrate 15 years in business, we are making 15 positive changes this year to encourage sustainability in Bristol and help the local community and economy. Our first pledge of the year was to go all electric on our delivery vans, which we have achieved, and – thanks to government funding – gave us the extra push to Act Now.
The urgency to Act Now cannot be ignored anymore – we are seeing in real time the effects of climate change and ecosystem change, while increased demand and shocking levels of food waste continue. I was bought up by my parents to have a love of nature and a genuine environmental awareness, so this is something that has motivated me personally for a long time. In some ways things looked very different back when we started the business in 2007, but in other ways we are facing so many of the same challenges.
This desire to Act Now runs right the way through our business – all our staff are passionate about our environmental ethos and principles. So together we put together our ’15 Years, 15 Positive Pledges’ to make a positive promise to Bristol, the local community and environmental sustainability. Every 3-4 weeks we will announce our next ‘positive promise’, by social media and on our website.
Kate’s Kitchen shows that it is possible to offer quality catering, while carefully considering your environmental footprint. Here are some of the simple and effective steps we take at Kate’s Kitchen:
Sourcing local, organic produce and cooking with the seasons
By buying locally and organic whenever possible, and cooking with the seasons, we can reduce the food miles of our business, help protect our soils and develop closer relationships with local suppliers in order to source the best products. We do this by:
- Creating menus based on the season.
- Meeting and having a relationship with all our local suppliers.
- Ensuring all our meat is free-range and local.
- Buying organic produce when possible.
- Sourcing as much of the produce we use as possible from local suppliers.
Reducing transport and carbon emissions
Carbon emissions has a massive negative impact on the environment. As a business we do the following things:
- All our delivery vehicles are electric, and our electricity supplier is Ecotricity.
- We cook with 100% electric (supplied by Ecotricity), using induction hobs and electric fan ovens.
- All our lighting is LED.
- 80% of our workforce cycle or walk to work.
- We work with local suppliers to reduce food miles.
Encouraging a vegetarian diet
- We offer a 10% discount if all veggie or vegan menu options are selected.
- We ensure half of our offerings are veggie or vegan.
- Often we add pulses, lentils and vegetables to our meat dishes to reduce meat consumption.
Reducing food waste
Food waste is a huge problem in the catering sector, but there are lots of ways to tackle this. We:
- Educate and train kitchen staff on what can be reused.
- Redistribute surplus food to homeless charities.
- Put any food that cannot be consumed into our food waste recycling, which is used to generate renewable energy.
Reducing other waste
Packaging is also a big challenge for caterers, and we try hard to reduce single-use products. We do this by:
- Offering clients reusable containers rather than cling film as much as possible.
- Recycling all our cardboard, plastic, tins, paper and food waste.
- Talking to our suppliers to ensure they use minimal packaging.
- Using Rice Husk mugs and getting rid of single-use coffee cups.
- Using palm plates for our disposable packaging (only when essentially needed or asked for).
Other bits we do to help
- We have planted one tree per employee – part of Replant Bristol project.
- All our food is made on site with care, love and attention.
The Bristol Eating Better Award is a great opportunity for food businesses to provide food that is sourced, prepared and served in a healthy and sustainable way. As part of helping make Bristol a more sustainable food city, now is a great time for food businesses to get involved and promote the opportunities presented by the award. Find out more about the award on the Bristol Bites Back Better blog.
By setting the wheels in motion now, together we can transform the future of food in our city, building in resilience over the next decade. So, what change do you want see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.