An investigation into the importance of sustainable food sources on menu planning and design, with specific reference to restaurants in East Lothian, Scotland
(2014) An investigation into the importance of sustainable food sources on menu planning and design, with specific reference to restaurants in East Lothian, Scotland, no. 59.
The aim of this research project is to find out whether and to what extent restaurants in East Lothian use sustainable/local products in their cuisine. Sustainability is a subject that is very important to people nowadays not only in Scotland but globally as well. For this reason this topic is worthy of being investigated in more depth. This is a qualitative research project which conducted six semi-structured interviews with head chefs in East Lothian, Scotland. The main focus of the research is to investigate how important the use of sustainable food sources are for head chefs in menu planning and design within East Lothian, Scotland. The chosen sample to interview were head chefs because they were the experts in the management, planning and designing of sustainable menus and have been able to provide useful information thanks to their knowledge in the hospitality sector. The restaurants within East Lothian were all sensitive to sustainability in relation to food which has an impact on the economy, society and the environment of an area. Findings showed that most of the interviewees use sustainable and local food sources by providing a touch of seasonality and freshness to the menu for their customers. A small sample was used for this study, so findings were not necessarily representative of all restaurants in East Lothian. The practical implications are that head chefs are aware of the importance of using sustainable and local food products when planning and designing a menu, but one of the interviewees has some practical difficulties in achieving this. Further research needs to be conducted with particular attention on big chains of hotels in the use of sustainable food sources where head chefs have limited decisional power on what to buy locally as most of the decisions are made centrally. It is noteworthy that, in order to proceed with this research, a bigger sample is necessary with the aim to provide a better representation of the whole population. Other areas which are considered important to be researched in more depth are the role of communication with suppliers, the relationship between restaurants and local producers.