By Juliane Caillouette-Noble
2021- a roller coaster of a year. One that started in lockdown, and seems to be teetering on the edge of ending right where we started. A year where so many poured their hearts into making their business survive – thrive even! – despite the most challenging of circumstances. And though the industry again finds itself knee deep in uncertainty, once again lacking the leadership, support and recognition that the industry so desperately needs, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the accomplishments of the year almost gone.
Despite supply chain shortages, Covid closures and the largest staffing crisis we have ever experienced as an industry, we have also seen incredible tenacity, innovation, and creativity. Though there have been a number of sad closures across the sector, they were fewer than many had feared. And from our vantage point we saw something really incredible- a renewed sense of energy and urgency around sustainability. We saw smaller restaurants cutting menus down in favour of supporting local suppliers, and larger chains dropping beef, promoting veg and moving to over 50% plant-based options.
We saw innovation in packaging design to inspire diners to compost and trials of circular take out. A record number of you employed sustainability leads within your team, calculated your carbon footprint and began to announce Science Based Targets to achieve Net Zero ahead of the government’s 2050 goal in a monumental effort to keep a max of 1.5 degrees of warming alive. Amid all of that it has been so nice to welcome new businesses to the Food Made Good community. They share our commitment to act now, decisively, to meet the moment.
The SRA has seen its fair share of change as well over the last 12 months. We bid farewell to some wonderful colleagues, including thanking Andrew for his leadership over the past 5 years. By the summertime, our team had began to grow again. In autumn we announced a change to our model – shedding the title of ‘Membership Organization’ from our bio for the first time since we were founded over 10 years ago. Our aim is to deepen the credibility of our community, focusing on certifying businesses actions, not just recognizing their intentions.
We also relaunched our community with a commitment to connecting ANYONE and EVERYONE working in the industry with the touch of a finger.
We revisited our global ambitions, merging back together with Food Made Good global, connecting us with our partner hubs in Hong Kong and Japan, and allowing us to dream big and set the ambition of working with 100,000 kitchens around the world by 2025.
With our partners Net Zero Now, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners and Pernod Ricard UK, we launched the first industry-wide Net Zero protocols and certifications for Pubs, Restaurants and Bars –– putting the tools for climate action in the hands of businesses in the sector.
Already, the likes of Hawksmoor, Wahaca, Pizza Pilgrims and Peach Pubs are working with our support to implement this industry standard for reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions. We look forward to working with many more in the year ahead.
We’ll be kicking off 2022 with a bang, relaunching the #OnePlanetPlate campaign presented by HSBC. This is the opportunity to show how your restaurant is contributing to a better food future – galvanising diners and home cooks to take action with their food choices. Please do submit the One Planet Plate dish from your menu to be featured on our new website, and keep your eyes peeled for fun activations ahead.
It has been the pleasure of my career to get to know so many of you and your businesses so deeply over the last 12 months as I stepped into the role of Managing Director. Your commitment and conviction, your tenacity and resilience has truly inspired me. Thank you for all that you do to Make Food Good, and I look forward to continuing to work together to build a stronger, greener future.
Wishing you all the best however you may celebrate this holiday season.
See you in 2022!