Incorporating sustainability into events may seem daunting. The myriad of options available to make your events more sustainable can leave your head swimming. There is no clear path to immediate success, but keep going. It makes it easier by asking just one question, then another, and then another.

Taking a Look at Food and Beverage

In this second post of a Start by Asking a Question series, we take a deeper look at food and beverage. And who doesn’t like talking about food and drink? As host organizations and planners, we have the opportunity to change or influence vendors, farmers, caterers, and local producers. This is where the buying power of menu selection for 50 to 5,000 impacts an entire supply chain.

Remember, we can also influence behavioral change for our participants by providing a learning opportunity with more sustainable choices designed to entice the palate.

Questions to Ask Your Caterer

You may not know where to begin or how deep to go when planning your event’s food and beverage. Here are some questions you should ask your caterer:

  1. Do you have plant-forward menu options?
  2. Do you incorporate imperfect produce into your meals?
  3. What water-wise selections are available?
  4. Do you purchase seafood according to the “Good” or “Best Alternative” choices under a sustainable fisheries program in your area?
  5. Do you serve fair trade, shade-grown coffee?
  6. What strategies can be implemented to reduce food waste?
  7. Do you maximize ethical food options to ensure the humane treatment of people and animals?
  8. Do you ensure a workplace health and safety program is in place to care for the welfare of employees?

Start by asking these questions early in the planning process as part of the RFP and contracting. You will know what the caterer is capable of, and the caterer will understand your sustainable event initiatives. If you want more information, surveys, and resources, please see the Food and Beverage component of the Sustainable Event Kit.

Wait, there’s more! The questions we provided here are just the start of the questions you need to ask the caterer when it comes to planning a sustainable meal. In our next article in this series we will talk about the service ware.