It may come as a surprise, but food trucks are inherently less wasteful than traditional restaurants in many ways. Once they arrive at their destination, they use only a fraction of the utilities that larger brick and mortar restaurants use. Food trucks must also contend with unique challenges, such as limited space for food and supplies (including water) forcing them to conserve as much as they can and making them highly aware of waste. When it comes to overall emissions, there doesn’t appear to be a definitive answer as to which setup comes out ahead.
LEAF has released our annual Guide to Canada’s Greenest Restaurants for 2018. For the past number of years, sustainable dining and various aspects of it , including local food, sustainable seafood, meatless menus, and environmental practices, have been listed as some of the top trends in restaurants and food service. Increasingly, restaurants are realizing that operating as a more sustainable business is also good for their bottom line.
Restaurants waste an average of 50 tons of food each year, and use 2.5 to 5 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. 96 per cent of LEAF restaurants compost their food waste versus just 9 per cent of conventional restaurants. 85 per cent of LEAF restaurants use energy efficient or ENERGY STAR appliances versus just 52 per cent of conventional restaurants. LEAF restaurants consistently outperform conventional restaurants.
Consumers are increasingly more aware of the impact of their purchasing decisions, and gravitate towards more environmentally sound purchasing choices when presented with options. Dining at a LEAF certified restaurant takes the guesswork out of the equation for consumers. The restaurants on this list have all been audited by an independent third party, and demonstrate a commitment to operating in an environmentally sustainable manner. Canadian diners can find an updated list of LEAF certified restaurants in their area, year round, on the LEAF website.
We are continually raising the bar for what it means to be LEAF certified. In the coming weeks, LEAF’s version 4.0 criteria will be released, which places a greater emphasis on single use disposable plastics and food waste.
Support a more sustainable foodservice industry - visit a LEAF certified restaurant in your area today!
Don’t see one on the list in your area? Send them this link and suggest they get certified!
By Stephanie Ball
The School of Hospitality and Tourism at the Southern Albert Institute of Technology (SAIT) continues to push the sustainability envelope, more than five years after becoming LEAF certified.
Operations Manager Brad Rosenberger has been with the School of Hospitality and Tourism for 11 years and has witnessed and implemented many changes since joining SAIT.
Long before the City of Calgary rolled out its green bin program, SAIT was diverting organic waste in a big way. Large compost bins are provided all around the main campus, and they are getting a lot of use – especially in the culinary programs.
"We go through a lot when it comes to food,” says Rosenberger. “The green bins ensure we're doing our part for the environment and for SAIT itself.”
As an added bonus, both the culinary garden and campus landscaping areas benefit from the composted material and SAIT’s used cooking oil is reprocessed and used to produce biodiesel.
The school deals with many different suppliers and does their best to select sustainable food products.
“It’s about limiting our impact on the environment. It’s about being responsible,” says Rosenberger when asked what it means to be a sustainability leader.
SAIT has to set the standards and meet the needs of what the industry is demanding, he says. It's an important because students are going out into the world after they graduate to become executive chefs or hotel managers. They are the future of sustainability and so SAIT's environmental practices play a key role in teaching students to adapt and think ahead.
Rosenberger and SAIT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism are optimistic about the future and advancement of Alberta’s sustainability movement.
“Good things are happening.”
Over 20,000 chefs, restaurateurs and industry professionals attended the RC Show in Toronto on Feb 25-27th, 2018. LEAF was a co--presenter of the Eco Pavilion, which featured businesses and organizations to help attendees address waste, find rebates, learn about the ENERGY STAR program and more.
Day one featured a great discussion on the Business Case for Sustainability. Bruce McAdams of the University of Guelph's Sustainable Restaurant Program (UGSRP) started off the talk by highlighting the economic benefits of incorporating sustainability into operations and stats to provide context. A panel discussion with five LEAF certified restaurateurs followed, each discussing their challenges and successes in their sustainability journey, and providing valuable insight and advice.
The talk wrapped with each chef offering their recommendation for the best sustainable change they made - either economically or greatest impact with least investment:
- Chef Cam McGowan from CRAFT Beer Market suggested starting with a waste audit of garbage, compost and recycling - laying everything "out on a tarp" to seeing what you're actually throwing away.
- Ian Vickers, COO of Diversity Food Services, recommended placing compost containers by each service station and taking the garbage out of the way. Ian suggested placing the garbage at the back of the house created a "walk of shame" to throw something out, ensuring anything that could be composted or recycled, was.
- Evelyn Gharibian from Hearty Catering, favoured monitoring water use and implementing conservation systems as means to reduce water use and cost.
- Elio Zannoni of Gusto Commissary and Catering highlighted the ease and impact of eliminating plastic straws and stir sticks.
- Brad Long of Cafe Belong recommended working towards being a Certified B Corp, and stressed the importance of measurement.
Throughout the show we collected pledges in our Pledge to Win contest - encouraging foodservice operators to make a sustainability pledge. We captured pledges for everything from purchasing ENERGY STAR appliances and installing low flow fixtures, to eliminating plastic straws!
The final day of the show featured the SaveONEnergy Forum presented by IESO where the focus was on SAVING. We heard first hand accounts of how big and small energy efficiency strategies had lead to major operational cost savings.
Chic Alors! saves $700 per month with LED lighting and realized a payback within 7 months of the initial investment
Sheridan College campus was able to reduce the temperature by two degrees in the winter by installing ENERGY STAR window film, resulting in substantial cost savings
Kim of Montgomery's restaurant kept costs in check by choosing ENERGY STAR appliances, unplugging equipment when not needed, filling in cracks in the walls and around windows and doors, installing thick curtains and rugs as insulation, and more
At the end of the SaveONEnergy Forum, ENERGY STAR Canada, in partnership with Restaurants Canada, IESO, LEAF and Newspring Energy, launched their Foodservice Energy Challenge, which will give participating restaurant and foodservice facilities the opportunity for deep discounts on ENERGY STAR equipment and a chance to win prizing.
The show was capped off with the first LEAF Awards, presented to four incredibly deserving companies. Diversity Foodservices, Chic Alors!, Community Cafe and Creelman Market all took home awards. Learn more about the winners here.
Thanks to Restaurants Canada for putting on an amazing show and highlighting sustainability! We look forward to the RC Show 2019 where the theme will be Sustainability!
On Feb 27th, the first LEAF awards were handed out at the RC Show in Toronto. After a jam-packed three days of food, innovation and sustainability discussions, the show was capped off by recognizing leaders in the sustainable foodservice industry.
We thank all of the applicants to the 2018 LEAF Awards, and are proud of all of our LEAF-certified members that operate with sustainability in mind everyday. We applaud your commitment to the environment and your customers!
Award: Most Improved
Recipient: Community Cafe, Calgary, AB
The LEAF program is not about perfection, but about continuous improvement in sustainability, and Community Cafe (run by Community Natural Foods) has demonstrated their commitment to striving for better. When Community Cafe first became certified in 2012, they were already operating in a sustainable manor - local and sustainable food, sustainable seafood, a high percentage of vegan and vegetarian dishes, wind powered by Bullfrog Power, water-conserving fixtures, composting, and more! Since that time, Community Cafe has aimed to become a zero-waste facility, purchased ENERGY STAR appliances, and become an official OceanWise partner, establishing themselves amongst the more sustainably run businesses in Calgary.
We are proud to recognize Community Cafe for their commitment to always doing better!
Award: Greenest Restaurant over 10,000 square feet
Recipient: Diversity Foodservices, Winnipeg, MB
Diversity Food Services operates a number of restaurants (Elements, Malecon, Pangeas Kitchen, Buffalo Stone Cafe) all of which are all LEAF certified. Operating a large-scale foodservice facility can present some unique challenges to certain sustainability goals (securing large, consistent quantities of local food, retrofitting components that are part of a larger institution, etc). Diversity Food Services has demonstrated innovation and commitment in overcoming these challenges and stands as a leader in sustainable facility operations.
Their achievements include sustainable (Ocean Wise) seafood, a high percentage of local food, wide variety of meat-free dishes, recycled and compostable supplies, LEED certified buildings composting, and more, making Diversity Food Services deserving of this award.
Recipient: Creelman Market
The Eco-Innovator award was open to any restaurant or foodservice facility in Canada that has demonstrated innovative solutions to sustainable challenges. For large scale facilities, procuring local and seasonal produce year round can be a challenge in Canada. Creelman Market overcame this by implementing a large scale food preservation operation, which allows use of local produce in their facilities year round. While the concept of food preservation and canning may not be new, the scale to which this facility has undertaken it to ensure they are using as much local food as possible every month of the year, has taken it to a new level and solved a local food challenge for Canadian food service facilities.
Award: Greenest Restaurant
Recipient: Chic Alors!, Quebec, QC
In order to be eligible for the Greenest Restaurant award, restaurants had to be Level 3 (our highest) LEAF certified restaurant. While all Level 3 LEAF restaurants are high-performing and deserving of recognition, Chic Alors! stood out as a true leader for 2018, being engaged in all 10 of LEAF’s Areas of Sustainability. Chic Alors! has geothermal heating, electric vehicles for delivery, their own beehives, LED lighting and more.
Hugues Philippin, owner of Chic Alors!, credits his decision to operate as a sustainable restaurant as a key factor in operational cost savings.
Thank you to everyone who entered to win the award this year. Your commitment to improvement in the sustainable foodservice industry is inspirational.
Congratulations to all of our winners!
Towards the end of 2016, 25 food service facilities operated by 17 cooperatives of the COOPSCO Network in Quebec were awarded LEAF Certification. The major-scale project was run by Bleu Innovation and took over a year to complete. It was supported financially by the MAPAQ (Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l' Alimentation du Québec) through the Québec Food Marketing Support Program, which aims to encourage increased purchases of Québec food in the institutional market.
The COOPSCO Network is owned by more than 400,000 members (mostly students) in 60 school-based cooperatives in high schools, colleges and universities. They are known for their social and environmental commitments in their communities, so aiming for LEAF certification was a perfect fit. However, achieving LEAF Certification for facilities of this size is no small feat. For facilities that need to produce hundreds or even thousands of meals each day, local food purchasing and major procedural changes can be difficult. Despite this, some of their locations (COOPSCO St-Hyacinthe) were able to achieve up to 50% local food purchasing! But LEAF Certification is about much more than just food.
Le Cafélix at the Universitaire de l’Outaouais uses programmable thermostats to reduce energy use, and was able to decrease food waste by over 10% last year by conducting food waste audits. The cafeteria in Lapocatiere has a heat recovery system that captures heat from the swimming pool, and COOP HEC Montréal has a large garden for produce and uses all energy efficient LED lighting. The St-Hyacinthe locations also have menus with 30-60% vegetarian and vegan items, and geothermal energy. The Cafétéria Principale in l’Université de Sherbrooke uses mainly Energy Star appliances.
Congratulations to the students and staff of COOPSCO on an incredible achievement and continuing to show leadership in your industry!
LEAF Certified COOPSCO Food Service Facilities
Region of Outaouais
-Cafétéria of the Campus Gabrielle-Roy of the college and university cooperative of the Outaouais
-Cafélix Coopsco of the college and university cooperative of the Outaouais
-Café student of the Cité Collégiale of the collegial and university cooperative of the Outaouais
-Cafétéria of the Polyvalente Mont-Bleu of the collegiate and university cooperative of the Outaouais
-Café l’Escale of the Co-operative Library of the Cégep de Maisonneuve
-Café Le Capharnaüm of the Student Co-operative Association of Édouard-Montpetit College
-Caféria of the Valleyfield College Student Association
-Caféria Decelles of the Coop HEC Montréal
– The main HEC Montréal Cooperative
-Restaurant the Cercle de la Coop HEC Montréal
Region of Montérégie
-Cafétéria of Coopsco St-Hyacinthe
-Café Bistro of Coopsco St-Hyacinthe
Region of Mauricie
-Cafétéria of the Shawinigan College of Coopsco Trois-Rivières
-Cafétéria of the cooperative association F.-X. Garneau -Cafresia of Coopsco Ste-Foy
-Cafétéria du Cégep, Coopsco Victoriaville
Region of Saguenay Lac-St-Jean
-Cafétéria of the student association of Chicoutimi -Cafétéria of Coopsco college of Alma
Lower St. Lawrence Region
-Cut-the-Mouth of the Institut de Technologie Agroalimentaire, Coopsco La Pocatière
-Cafétéria of the Cégep De La Pocatière, Coopsco La Pocatière
-Cafétéria of the Coopérative du Cégep of Rivière-du-Loup
-Cafétéria of the student co-operative association of the Rimouski College
Eastern Townships Region
-Caféria of the Co-operative of the University of Sherbrooke -Cafétéria of the Solidarity Cooperative of the Cégep de Sherbrooke -Bistro of the Solidarity Cooperative of the Cégep de Sherbrooke
About Bleu Innovation
Bleu Innovation is mandated to implement the LEAF certification in Québec by accompanying and certifying food establishments (restaurants, cafés, cafeterias …) in an eco-responsible approach that targets all operations of establishments. www.bleuinnovation.com