7 in 10 Brits want restaurants to be more sustainable and majority worry about impact of climate change on food production

on
22 August 2023
Denai Moore, artist and chef, for WaterAid and Belu’s Chop & Chat series. August 2023
Image: WaterAid/ Charlie Newton

Download photosView Chop & Chat on WaterAid's InstagramTop chefs and food influencers team up with Belu and WaterAid in ‘Chop & Chat’ sustainability series.

A new survey has revealed that nearly two thirds of the UK public (61%) worry food production will be impacted by climate change, and 7 in 10 Brits (70%) want restaurants to make themselves more sustainable. Despite the cost-of-living crisis, almost 1 in 3 people (32%) would be willing to pay extra to eat at a restaurant that operates sustainably or offers a more sustainable menu.

The research was commissioned by Belu and WaterAid to explore consumer attitudes to sustainability in the hospitality sector, and to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change on food production and water quality and availability. The ethical drinks company and international charity have also teamed up with some of the UK’s top chefs to inspire people to think about how to be more climate-friendly in the kitchen.

In their new ‘Chop & Chat’ video series, chefs, authors and food influencers including founder of Furna Dave Mothersill, Modern South Asian Kitchen author Sabrina Gidda, and food influencer Max La Manna, share their views on cooking more sustainably, along with top tips on how to do it.  

Launching the weekly series via social channels today, 22 August, is Chantelle Nicholson, head chef and owner of Apricity, recently awarded a Michelin Green Star and part of a pioneering group of chefs and restaurants placing sustainability at the very heart of their business.

Chantelle Nicholson, Chef owner, Apricity in Mayfair, for WaterAid and Belu’s Chop & Chat series. August 2023
Chantelle Nicholson, Chef owner, Apricity in Mayfair, for WaterAid and Belu’s Chop & Chat series. August 2023
Image: WaterAid/ Chantelle Nicholson

Chef-owner of Apricity, Chantelle Nicholson said:

“At Apricity, we have a zero-waste mentality. We focus on seasonality, and we protect plants, champion responsible suppliers and make conscious choices about how we use water. It's these sustainable practices that help us to deliver a memorable culinary experience, whilst regenerating our environment and the food industry.”

Max La Manna, author, chef, campaigner and digital creator, for WaterAid and Belu’s Chop & Chat series. August 2023
Max La Manna, author, chef, campaigner and digital creator, for WaterAid and Belu’s Chop & Chat series. August 2023
Image: WaterAid/ Charlie Newton

Max La Manna, award-winning author, low-waste chef, campaigner and digital creator, said:

“I’m passionate about food but I worry that so much of it is being wasted every day. It's important to cherish the resources we have, especially the energy and water used to produce it in the first place. Let's respect the planet, and remember how vital water is to everyone, as well as the crucial role it plays in growing our food.”

The new poll, carried out by YouGov, clearly demonstrates how many consumers are now looking to minimise their environmental impact, with over half of the UK public (53%) wanting restaurants to make it easier for them to make more sustainable choices. When asked to select the top steps restaurants should take to be more sustainable, the public chose:

  • Reduce food waste (75%)
  • Reduce the use of plastic (72%)
  • Use food produced in the UK or locally (69%)

Only 29% selected use less water, suggesting a low awareness amongst the general public of the link between climate change and water scarcity, and a reminder that we often take clean water for granted.

Charlotte Harrington, Co-CEO of Belu, said:

“There’s a big push across the hospitality sector in restaurants, cafes, even workplaces, to be more sustainable. With Belu Filter in Action businesses can make the switch from single use bottles over to a filtration system using refillable bottles, which saves on fridge space and reduces the amount of recycling needed. It’s a behaviour change but ultimately supports a closed loop system where we cut out waste and retain a great tasting water source.”

Kate Holme, WaterAid’s Strategic Partnerships Director, said:

“Clean water is the key ingredient – for everything. From quenching your thirst to washing your hands, and from cooking to growing food; it’s a resource we cannot live without. However, the stark reality is that 1 in 10 people worldwide don’t have access to clean water, and climate change is making this situation worse. With support from Belu, we’re working with communities to ensure a reliable supply of clean water, able to withstand the extremes of climate change.”

Find out more about WaterAid, Belu and the Chop & Chat video seriesENDS

Download photosView Chop & Chat on WaterAid's InstagramFor more information, please contact:

WaterAid: Rosie Stewart, Senior Media Officer, [email protected] or Laura Crowley, PR Manager, [email protected], or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552

Belu: Georgie Murray, Brand & Impact Partnerships Lead, [email protected]  

Notes to Editors:

Belu and WaterAid’s Chop & Chat series will launch on WaterAid’s Instagram account @WaterAid on Tuesday 22 August 2023 from 14:00 BST.

Polling was conducted by YouGov for Belu and WaterAid. Total sample size was 2200 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th - 14th July 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

Stats from the YouGov poll conducted by YouGov for Belu and WaterAid include:

  • 61% of the UK public worry that food production will be impacted by climate change.
  • 70% of the UK public agree restaurants should do everything they can to make their cooking and business practices sustainable.
  • 32% of the UK public say they would be willing to pay more to eat at a restaurant that operates sustainably and/or has more sustainable food choices.
  • 53% of the UK public want restaurants to make it easier for them to make more sustainable choices

When asked which, if any, of the following steps do you think restaurants should take to be more sustainable?

  • 75% of the UK public selected ‘reduce food waste”
  • 72% of the UK public selected ‘reduce their use of plastic’.
  • 69% of the UK public selected ‘use food produced in the UK/locally’
  • 68% of the UK public selected ‘use seasonal produce (i.e. using ingredients when they are naturally in harvest in the local climate)’
  • 66% of the UK public selected ‘increase the amount they recycle'
  • 53% of the UK public selected ‘use renewable energy’
  • 52% of the UK public selected ‘serve tap water instead of bottled water'
  • 29% of the UK public selected ‘use less water’
  • 49% of the UK public say the increased cost of living has made it harder for them to make more sustainable choices when they eat out.
  • 55% of the UK public say that if money were no object, sustainability would be an important consideration when choosing where to eat out.

Belu

Belu is a pioneering social enterprise and leading ethical drinks business that supplies mineral water, filtered water systems, soft drinks, mixers and refillable water bottles. They invest in solutions to deliver UN SDGs 6, 12 and 13 and give 100% net profits to WaterAid. This has totalled £5.5 million since 2011.

WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 27 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 28 million people with clean water and 29 million people with decent toilets.

For more information, visit our website wateraid.org/uk, follow us on Twitter @WaterAidPress, @WaterAidUK, @WaterAid, or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

  • 771 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.
  • Almost 1.7 billion people in the world – more than one in five – do not have a decent toilet of their own.
  • Over 300,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's more than 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.
  • Investing in safely managed water, sanitation and hygiene services provides up to 21 times more value than it costs.

[1] WHO/UNICEF (2021) Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2020. Joint Monitoring Programme. Geneva: World Health Organisation.

[2] WHO/UNICEF (2021) Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2020. Joint Monitoring Programme. Geneva: World Health Organisation.

[3] WaterAid calculations based on: Prüss-Ustün A, et al. (2019). Burden of Disease from Inadequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Selected Adverse Health Outcomes: An Updated Analysis with a Focus on Low- and Middle-Income Countries. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. vol 222, no 5, pp 765-777. AND The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2020) Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Seattle, WA: University of Washington.

[4] WaterAid. (2021) Mission-critical: Invest in water, sanitation and hygiene for a healthy and green economic recovery.