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    Sustainability & Social Responsibility Gaining Importance in Foodservice

    Both consumers and operators are concerned with these issues, Technomic study shows.

    CHICAGO -- Sustainability and social responsibility are taking on greater importance within the foodservice industry, according to Building a Better Foodservice Business Through Sustainable and Responsible Practice, a recently completed study by Technomic Inc. The study included input from foodservice consumers, operators and suppliers to better understand the current state and future expectations for these key issues.

    For both consumers and operators, social responsibility and sustainability include multiple elements, such as humane treatment of animals, conservation and local community involvement. Sixty-three percent of consumers say they are more likely to visit a foodservice operation they view as socially conscious.

    Meanwhile, across all foodservice segments, operators expressed strong commitment to these initiatives for a variety of reasons, including positive impact on the environment, improved reputation, and better food and beverage quality, Technomic said. Fifty-three percent of foodservice operators indicated that having an actionable social responsibility strategy will be necessary to remain competitive in the next two years. The biggest obstacle for achieving these goals is the higher costs associated with many initiatives.

    "Incorporating sustainability and social responsibility elements into a foodservice operator's business is no longer a 'nice to have,'" said Wade Hanson, Technomic principal and director of the study. "Consumers now expect that the foodservice venues they visit exhibit social consciousness and sustainability points, just like consumers are making the effort to do in their own lives. We also see evidence that consumers are rewarding operations that meet their requirements in this increasingly critical area."

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