Upskilling F&B Outlets at AIRSIDE: Designing a Food Vision

Admin | 30th May 2023 | 4min read

Future AIRSIDE Tenants cohort
Nan Fung’s newest commercial development complex, AIRSIDE, in Hong Kong is set to open in September. Boasting an impressive 7-storey mall with various F&B tenants from smaller coffee shops and independent restaurants to larger quick service chains and retailers, Nan Fung has made sustainability a top priority. To prepare tenants to operate more sustainably and responsibly aligning with AIRSIDE’s approach to sustainability, we delivered a comprehensive 3-day training and workshop to upskill over 10 food and beverage brands and retailers as well as some Nan Fung corporate team members from Marketing.

Day 1 – The Fundamentals of Food Sustainability

Day one was entirely designed around our CPD-accredited Food Sustainability introductory course. Throughout the day, we addressed the main areas of our framework from biodiversity, deforestation-free commodities, responsible meat and seafood, community, and staff as well as energy and water usage enabling tenants to see the big picture and learn about the fundamentals of food sustainability. It was an intensive learning experience for food sustainability beginners as we touched upon many topics, provided facts and figures and tons of expert content. However, our amazing facilitator, Katie Tang, was there to bring her positive and uplifting energy delivering Part One in Cantonese. 

Left to Right : Putting knowledge into practice, Tea ceremony by Ilya Belkin
We also ensured to incorporate structured design thinking activities for tenants to put their newly acquired knowledge into practice and start mapping out their challenges. We intentionally  support our Future Green members, and so ordered lunch from SpiceBox Organics who provided healthy plant-based wraps and mushroom quiches before our surprise guest, Ilya Belkin, conducted a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. It was a great way to sip on some exquisite high-quality freshly and expertly brewed tea but also to take a break from this morning’s intensive learning.
We took the afternoon to cover other parts of the framework and to get input from our first case study where King Mak, our first guest speaker from the Landmark Mandarin Oriental took to the floor and reminded us of the importance of having Food Vision – an integral part of our workshop. A Food Vision outlines your commitments to sustainability in a holistic way and can be presented in many forms. As a 2 year goal, as a series of commitments or simply a policy document that is shared with teams and customers.

Another round of Interactive activities
What our participants had to say about today: 
“What an interactive way to learn about (Food Sustainability) intensive knowledge”
Future AIRSIDE tenant

Day 2 – Deep Dive

Day two served as a deep dive for two topics from our framework that we identified as being most relevant for the future tenants: Food Waste and Plastic and Packaging – two very thorny issues for the F&B industry in Hong Kong. We dedicated our morning session to discuss the plastic issues from microplastics threatening the health of our environment and our own health and the over reliance on plastic in Hong Kong.

Second day’s deep dive with Guest Speaker Ronald Li from Urban Spring
We looked at the top plastic item offenders in a foodservice and food retail settings, shared best practices and solutions from case studies to applying models addressing EPRs (extended producer responsibility), and recycling schemes. We got updated on the latest regulations globally and in Hong Kong and strongly reiterated that the ideal, and only long-term solution was to not use any plastic at all to curb the use of virgin plastic in our food system. Ronald Li from Urban Spring passionately shared his expertise on filtered water systems as a win win for customer, business and planet.  He demonstrated how we urgently need to step away from single use plastic bottled water.
In order to put our learnings into practice we facilitated a fun Plan-O-Rama, an interactive activity on creating actionable step by step plans and with timelines for plastic reduction on sites. 

Designing a Plan – O – Rama
After a delicious plant-based lunch from Treehouse, (future AIRSIDE tenants to-be), we dedicated the afternoon to discussing food waste. We firmly encouraged future tenants to go for prevention and reduction as per the Waste Triangle with plenty of tips around storage, leftovers, portion sizes and auditing and using the plate waste, spoilage, and prep waste as a structured way to think about kitchen waste. As for food disposal, we also shared responsible practices and recommendations such as the use of composting or anaerobic digestion. It was a great occasion for tenants to go on a short field trip to explore AIRSIDE’s waste management facilities such as their glass crusher, anaerobic digester and even their future rooftop farm that will also use composting methods. The day ended on another highly interactive workshop with our Lightning Decision Jam: our signature fast-paced activity drawing from the Design Sprint method that we used to help businesses make quick, and team aligned decisions, challenges were identified, ideas were generated, prioritisation happened, and decisions were agreed upon for follow up. What a great way to sensitise our participants for day three.
What our participants had to say about today: 
“Your arrangement and brainstorming sessions are very good, to gain different perspectives”
Future AIRSIDE tenant

Day 3 – Roadmapping our Food Vision

The final day was dedicated to action planning and goal setting, where participants engaged in interactive activities and brainstorming sessions to develop their sustainability strategies. Compared to the knowledge-intensive first two days, on day three tenants experienced a rich day full of ‘doing’.

Generating and presenting solutions during our full-day Strategy Sprint
Starting out with a mini assessment, we identified what framework areas each tenant could improve on based on budget, limitations, and their priorities before moving to the first step of our Strategy Sprint. To inspire tenants to envision and build their Food Vision, we invited Ringo Li from KIN Food Halls, a local champion in terms of sustainable practices. Indeed, KIN Food Halls has a clear vision, mission and direction outlined in their charter and core values.
The first part of our highly structured Strategy Sprint aimed to decide on a long-term goal for each tenant ranging from going fully zero waste to being open about communications on sustainability. Through a little bit of research, tenants got inspired by other industry initiatives and we took the opportunity to remind everyone, and emphasise the importance of the mindset shift we need- that thinking about sustainability in a pre-competitive manner is a must. After a well-deserved lunch from KIN Food Halls, we continued the afternoon with another fantastic guest speaker from Vegetable Marketing Organization: Chris Chan who also shared with us that Hong Kong has a lot to offer in the way of sourcing locally and the benefits of close ties with the local community, and food heritage.

Left to Right : Chris Chan from Vegetable Marketing Organisation and Ideation Activity
The last step of the day was the Concept Creations to fill our Roadmap. Based on an initiative idea, tenants had to elaborate on the way they would take action from identifying relevant stakeholders, goals and outcomes as well as steps before committing to a roadmap over the next few months ahead of AIRSIDE’s opening. This serves as a great way to end our 3-day long training as tenants get to take home something tangible and actionable, they’ve committed to and most importantly team aligned.
Overall, the training workshop successfully equipped the attendees with the knowledge and tools necessary to make their businesses at AIRSIDE more environmentally conscious and sustainable. This sets a strong foundation for the new commercial development complex, as well as the incredibly supportive team at Nan Fung, to ensure that AIRSIDE will not only be a bustling hub of commerce and dining but also a shining example of responsible and sustainable practices in Hong Kong.

After 3 days of workshopping and learning
What our participants had to say about today: 
“I am normally too busy to sit down and think. Got a great chance to do it today with the assistance of professional trainers”
Future AIRSIDE tenant
“This has inspired us on how to set up sustainability goals and action plan”
Future AIRSIDE tenant
We were so happy with the positive feedback, what a refreshing way to make change happen! Get in touch if you want to chat about bringing food sustainability to life through innovation workshop that ends on ‘doing’, rather than just reporting and ‘talking’!