Europe’s restaurants need to become greener, healthier and more sustainable

Arnaud Dufour, Secretary General of Serving Europe, gave an overview of the impact of the European Green Deal at the 24th European Foodservice Summit in Zurich. Clear statement of the Secretary General of Serving Europe, Branded Food and Beverage Service Chains Association: “As an operator, start implementing sustainability in your business now – you won’t get around it anyway.” All this against the background that Europe is to be CO2 neutral in 2050.  The ambitious interim target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030.

The clusters affecting hosts primarily revolve around packaging, food waste, recycling, animal welfare and ingredient labelling through to the supply chain. “Basically, the specifications from Brussels affect the entire restaurant process,” says Dufour, who detailed what specific requirements restaurateurs will be confronted with in the aforementioned areas.

In addition, Dufour points out that due diligence will become increasingly important: In future, national governments are to create mechanisms to ensure that companies and their managers can be prosecuted for non-compliance with environmental and human rights requirements along their entire supply chain.

The future obligation for companies to report on the environmental impacts of their operations also represents an additional task for the entire industry. Provided information will be available for inspection and verification by third parties such as governments, the financial sector or civil society.

Pressure from the EU is growing

Green washing, according to Dufour, will become much more difficult in the future. New regulations foresee, among other things, an obligation to provide proof for claims and labels. In other words, anyone who writes “30 per cent of our packaging is made of recycled plastic” or “we have halved the carbon footprint of our menu since 2015” must also be able to prove it.

According to Dufour, however, this poses a major challenge for companies: too much, too fast – and at a time when the industry is already shaken by multiple crises. In addition, there are only declarations of intent and guidelines for many projects. The legal texts for food regulations, for example, would probably not be ready until the end of 2023 or even 2024. And then there would not be much time for implementation for those affected.


Serving Europe, Branded Food and Beverage Service Chains Association is the association for system gastronomy at European level. Its members include large catering companies such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Burger King or Domino’s, but also national associations such as the BdS, whose interests the association represents at European level and advises in particular with regard to EU legislation.