GlobalData: Asia-Pacific foodservice sector progressing in sustainability via local sourcing, waste reduction, plant-based options; initiatives include Singapore's Farm-to-Table program supporting local produce use, Lumitics AI-powered smart waste tracker

Sample article from our Foodservice Industry

July 28, 2023 (press release) –

With a burgeoning population and an ever-increasing demand for food, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region faces a critical challenge in the foodservice sector – how to meet the needs of a growing population while safeguarding the environment for future generations. As a result, sustainability has emerged as a central theme in the region’s foodservice sector, as industry leaders and stakeholders recognize the urgent need to address environmental concerns. The APAC foodservice industry is making impressive progress towards a more sustainable future, encompassing local sourcing, waste reduction, and introducing more plant-based options, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Srimoyee Nath, Lead Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “One of the fundamental pillars of sustainability in the foodservice industry is responsible sourcing. Across APAC, restaurants, hotels, and food establishments are increasingly turning to local farmers and producers to secure fresh and sustainable ingredients. By sourcing locally, businesses reduce their carbon footprint by minimizing the transportation distance of goods, thereby decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, under the Farm-to-Table (FTT) Recognition Programme, which was launched by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and local associations, 11 restaurants, hotels, and caterers were recognized in March 2023, for opting local farms to procure part of their food ingredients. Such initiatives help to encourage foodservice operators to source local produce and thus manage food waste.”

Deepak Nautiyal, Director of Consulting, APAC, GlobalData, notes: “The issue of food waste has reached alarming levels globally, and APAC is no exception. In a region where food is deeply ingrained in cultural celebrations and social gatherings, reducing food waste is a daunting task. However, the foodservice sector has risen to the challenge, with restaurants and food establishments implementing innovative strategies to combat food waste.

“Portion control, menu optimization, and creative cooking techniques are being employed to ensure that surplus food is minimized. Additionally, technology can also be leveraged to manage food surplus and move towards efficient food waste management. Lumitics, a start-up based out of Singapore, developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered smart waste tracker to assess the quantity of food wasted in hotels and restaurants.”

Nath notes: “APAC’s foodservice industry is also experiencing a surge in demand for plant-based and vegetarian options. This shift towards a more plant-centric menu caters to the preferences of a growing health-conscious consumer base and also plays a crucial role in reducing the industry’s environmental impact. Livestock farming is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and water pollution. “

Nautiyal continues: “By incorporating plant-based alternatives into their menus, foodservice establishments are contributing to the mitigation of climate change and promoting sustainable land use. Also, a sizable number of consumers in APAC (49%) are motivated to consume plant-based food alternatives as they consider these to be environmentally friendly/more sustainable, according to GlobalData 2023 Q1 consumer survey*. This is leading key foodservice operators such as McDonald’s to include various plant-based options in their menus.”

Nath concludes: “The APAC foodservice industry is at the forefront of the sustainability movement. By adopting sustainable sourcing practices to reduce food waste and promote plant-based cuisine, the industry is navigating towards a greener future.”

*GlobalData 2023 Q1 Consumer Survey – Asia-Pacific with 6,000 participants, published May 2023

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Dan Rivard
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