Research shows that we will never be able to reach global climate goals without grand actions for the food category. For this reason sustainability is central in our work with food. We want to offer great food experiences and simultaneously care for the environment. In 2013 Nordic Choice Hotels (of which Vox Hotel is a part) wanted to raise the subject of healthy and sustainable food.
What started as a small internal project grew rapidly and became its own organisation: EAT. Today Nordic Choice Hotels is still the organisation’s main business partner. EAT’s vision reads “To transform the global food system to sustainably feed a healthy population of over 9 billion people by 2050”. (Link https://eatforum.org/)
Our work with sustainable food is divided into two categories: served food and food waste.
Serving sustainable food
We aim to serve as much organic food as possible. You can always find at least 21 organic products at our breakfast buffet. We are especially proud of our organic Fairtrade coffee. Unbelievable amounts of coffee are consumed daily, and it makes a huge difference when these cups are environmentally friendly.
To be allowed to label the food as organic it must not be produced with synthetic, plant-regulating agents. In addition there are strict rules on animal care. An important aspect is that we do not offer conventional alternatives to the organic food we serve. This means that since we offer organic eggs, we do not offer other options for eggs. Thanks to our work with organic and sustainable food, we can proudly show that our hotel is KRAV certified, which you can read more about here. (Link to Certifications)
We do not want to serve food from productions that are harmful to animals and nature. For this we are using a Red List, developed within Nordic Choice Hotels, to guide us in which species to avoid. We are also MSC and ASC certified. MSC is short for Marine Stewardship Council and is a certificate for sustainably caught wild fish. ASC is short for Aquaculture Stewardship Council and is a certificate for sustainably farmed fish. All fish and seafood served here at Vox Hotel are in line with these certificates.
Watch a video about overfishing: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6nwZUkBeas).
Another raw material with huge negative impact on our environment is palm oil, the world’s cheapest and most produced vegetable oil. Its demand and thereby production has more than doubled in the last 20 years and this has resulted in an environmental threat. The majority of the world’s palm oil production is unsustainable. However there is a small part of the production that does not harm its surroundings. As part of our work with sustainability we do not use products with non-sustainably grown palm oil. (Link: https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/palm-oil)
The largest threat to our environment in the food section is food waste. This is an area we can influence a lot. It is a big challenge, but it is not impossible. In this area we are working with our own as well as our guests’ waste.
We weigh food waste in our restaurant kitchen daily and we sort our waste carefully. Which products we use and how we use them are important focus areas to our kitchen staff when updating our menu and creating new dishes.
There are many opportunities to influence how hotel guests behave. To make our guests waste less and think about how much food they take, we have decreased the size of food trays and plates at the breakfast buffet, and we are using signs to inform and encourage people to eat smart. We are part of food sustainability projects such as Swedish Cirkulär Ekonomi 2019 and Norwegian Kutt Matsvinn 2020. Furthermore, at our breakfast buffet we use nudging, a method where dishes are placed in a strategic order to subconsciously lead people to a better and more sustainable way of eating.
Buffets are the part of a restaurant with the highest waste percentage. Because of this we have chosen to work with table service and á la carte for all meals except for breakfast. For the breakfast buffet we have started a concept called “No waste breakfast”, where we offer breakfast to a discounted price during the last half hour of service but without restocking, an action that helps lessen the amount of food waste.