Our Green Blogger joins us this month to discuss an overview of green dining trends this year.
The past few years have seen incredible strides in restaurants becoming more environmentally sustainable. Just in the past few months, we saw Garden Fresh’s Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation become the largest chain of restaurants to achieve the 2 Star Certified Green Restaurant® level… and we saw Chicago’s Uncommon Ground, the Greenest Restaurant® in America, achieve 4 Star Certification, 116 Environmental Steps, and 365 GreenPoints™.
We’ve also seen the passion and dedication of consumers around issues of waste reduction, safe chemical use, sustainable food, and energy security. The American populace is so much more educated on everyday environmental issues compared to 5 years ago… and now 79% of consumers want easy and convenient choices to Dine Green. So, what are some interesting trends you are likely to see in 2012?
Green Dining Destinations™
Currently there are communities around the U.S. that are encouraging their local restaurants to become Certified Green Restaurants®, so that once there is a specified number of Certified Green Restaurants® in those communities, they will become Green Dining Destinations™, which are Dining Hot Spots throughout the U.S. where tourists and locals can enjoy a diverse variety of Green Dining options. The first communities that succeed in the GRA’s Green Dining Destination™ program… will make it even easier for guests to choose to Dine Green®.
Green Dining Zones™
Whereas the destinations are for a city, the Green Dining Zones™ are for neighborhoods. A Green Dining Zone™ would be a few block area where you have many Certified Green Restaurants® from which to choose, just by walking.
2011 saw many advances in lighting, with LED’s beginning to become mainstream. There are precedents of esteemed restaurants making that switch. So, in 2012, expect to see some of those old incandescent and even CFL bulbs move away to make room for the 21st century LED bulbs that are 80 to 90% more efficient and have no mercury.
Obesity. Diabetes. The First Lady Michelle Obama’s program to create healthier food options. Increased allergies. President Clinton and Howard Stern now claiming to be vegans. The food landscape is changing. And with more people wanting or needing to know what’s in the food, you’ll see more menu options be labeled as vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, etc.
Waste is a waste of money and resources, so some Certified Green Restaurants® have already become Near-Zero Waste™ Restaurants, composting and recycling about 95% of their waste stream. Next time you go out to eat, your food scraps could turn into new soil that grows new food… that you might eat at future meal.
2012 is the Year of…. You
With the proliferation of social media and smartphones, your opinion matters more than ever and is being heard more than ever. In 2012, we’ll see even more people expressing their desire for restaurants to become Certified Green Restaurants® to make it easy for consumers to make the choices that feel good to them.
May 2012 be a healthy, joyful, successful, and meaningful year for you.
Courtesy of Michael Oshman, CEO of Green Restaurant Association (GRA)
For more information visit www.dinegreen.com.
About the GRA:
The Green Restaurant Association was founded in 1990. Since the beginning, the GRA has worked to provide convenient and cost-effective tools to help the restaurant industry reduce its harmful impact on the environment. The GRA founded the green restaurant movement and is one of the pioneering founders of the green business movement as well.