By Sarah-Jane Tucker
Food systems account for almost 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so it is impossible to think about climate change without thinking about the food we eat and where it comes from. Meat alone produces around half the global food emissions by the time we consider its full lifecycle, from production, processing and distribution, through to consumption and refuse. Meat, therefore, accounts for more emissions than the entire transport sector. The heavily mechanised mass production of highly industrialised, intensive livestock production, refrigerated and transported long distances, is known to be the most emission-intensive food of all.
Recognising that not all meat and dairy is created equal goes a long way to steering consumers towards better food choices. Animals reared organically, within healthy ecosystems and consuming more natural diets, create a lower impact on the environment. By including plant-based dishes to create simple food swaps for everyday meals, it is easier to help the planet and enjoy the benefits of a healthier diet.
This month our Sustainability Cocktails event was hosted by Neil Tomes of Beef & Liberty at California Tower, Lang Kwai Fong. We were joined by 20 members and non-members in person, as well as additional participants dialling in.
Members tasted food from the Leaves & Liberty pop-up restaurant menu which offers around 95% plant-based dishes. According to Neil, one intention behind the less meat menu is to raise perception beyond the notion that veg is just a salad, so the menu included several plant-based alternatives to the beef burger, for example, all of which benefiting from close culinary attention to the seasoning and spices to create depth of flavour.
Guest speaker Juan Gimenez from Ovolo Hotels shared their programme to launch ‘Year of the Veg,’ an ambitious project to reduce the impact of meat consumption across all their restaurants, bars and in-room dining for 365 days. In place since October 2020, the hotel is on track to become part of the change towards elevating vegetarian dining and celebrating the very best of indulgent vegetarian cuisine. “The intention is not to substitute meat,” says Juan, rather “it is to use vegetables in the best possible way to meet demand from like-minded people.” Behind the scenes, Ovolo is meeting the challenge of serving nourishing meat-free meals to its customers by seeking to source the very best quality vegetables and maximising freshness by working closely with its suppliers. Ovolo Southside, among others in the chain, will also soon boast a small vegetable garden of its own.
Following the presentations and Quizlet, we took the opportunity to enjoy some of the delicious kombucha which Beef & Liberty had on offer, as well as the snacks as we moved into our networking session throughout the rest of the afternoon.
For those who came, we hope you enjoyed our meet-up and hope to see you next month for the February Sustainability Breakfast where we will be focussing on our theme: Society: Feed People Well. To sign up for the next event on 9th February, click here.