Environmental Policy for the Real Food Cafe
At the Real Food Cafe, we are deeply committed to environmental sustainability and responsible sourcing. We believe that our actions today can have a lasting impact on the planet, and we take our responsibility seriously. Our dedication to these principles is reflected in every aspect of our operations, from sourcing the finest ingredients to reducing our environmental footprint. Our commitment to sustainability practices is not limited to our menu but extends to all aspects of our operation and beyond. Here is an overview of our environmental policy:
1. Responsible Sourcing
When it comes to sourcing, we adhere to the highest standards. Conscious of our environmental impact and the importance of supporting local businesses, we prioritise Scottish produce whenever feasible. Our long-lasting relationships with suppliers and our insistence on procuring only the finest ingredients are key contributors to our reputation.
Fish Sourcing Policy
In 2013, we became proud members of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). This membership allows us to trace all our fish back to the vessel and ocean in which it was caught. We share the MSC's commitment to safeguarding the future of our oceans and fish stocks, and our fish sourcing policy reflects that commitment.
- Responsible Sourcing: Suppliers to the Cafe are required to source fish from fisheries, farms, and aquaculture operations that are responsibly managed.
- Trusted Partners: We work closely with Smales & Sons and Fastnet Fish Merchants, who supply us with our fish.
- Sustainable Catch: All our fish is caught by modern trawlers in the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea and North Atlantic. We avoid using local ports such as Oban to protect these areas from overfishing.
- Smoked Salmon: Our smoked salmon is exclusively sourced from Wester Ross Salmon, which only procures from RSPCA approved and monitored fish farms.
- Local Specials: Our regularly-run specials feature locally sourced seafood, such as oysters from The Caledonian Oyster Company at Loch Creran, near Oban.
- Eco-Blue Label: We proudly display the eco-blue label on our menus to indicate that our fish has been sustainably caught.
Commitment to Quality Beef
We are committed to Scottish sourcing. We are proud members of The Scotch Beef Club. Scotch Beef PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) represents beef from selected Scottish farms that adhere to best practices, including high standards of animal welfare and natural production methods.
2. Supporting Local Businesses
Since 2017, we have been enthusiastic members of Visit Scotland's "Taste our Best" scheme. This initiative requires a business to purchase at least 40% of its produce in Scotland. At our last audit, we achieved an impressive 80% sourcing rate from Scotland, demonstrating our dedication to supporting Scottish businesses and minimizing our carbon footprint. This membership also includes unannounced quality audits, ensuring that we consistently deliver excellence to our customers.
The list of our suppliers can be viewed at https://therealfoodcafe.com/pages/our-suppliers
We consider the environmental impact of our menu.
- Seasonality: By incorporating seasonal produce into our menu, we reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation. Seasonal ingredients are sourced as locally as possible, supporting regional farmers and reducing travel miles.
- Plant based alternatives: To cater to a diverse range of dietary preferences and to promote a more sustainable food system, we offer a variety of plant-based and vegan dishes on our menu. These options are not only delicious but also align with our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of food production worldwide.
- Working with Trusted Suppliers: Our partnerships with suppliers go beyond mere transactions; they are built on trust and shared values. We conduct due diligence to learn about their sustainability practices including; sourcing policy, water management, use of pesticides and other sustainability measures and net-zero strategy.
We continually collaborate with our suppliers to explore ways to improve sustainability, reduce waste, and enhance the quality of the ingredients we use.
4. Reducing Environmental Impact
Phasing Out Single-Use Items and Promoting Sustainable Practices
Our commitment to environmental sustainability extends to reducing the use of single-use items whenever possible. We understand that some single-use items, such as takeout boxes, may be necessary for certain aspects of our business. However, where single-use items cannot be completely phased out, we are dedicated to introducing alternative, environmentally better solutions.
Customer Involvement: As part of our commitment to reducing waste, we promote the “reuse” practice and encourage customers to bring their own reusable coffee cups. Everyone who brings their own coffee cup receives a 25p discount on their beverages.
We monitor the Cafe’s wastage and put systems and processes in place to minimise it. Wastage can appear at any various stages of our food preparation, customer & staff journey which is why we consider each step.
Measures put in place include:
Staff training (i.e. food storage practices)
Labelling & signage and information sharing
Investing in resource saving equipment & regular maintenance
- Resource Efficiency: We are investing in resource efficiency measures, including insulation, efficient fridges, freezers, and water-saving toilet flushing systems.
- Water Conservation: We have implemented sensor-operated water taps in the bathrooms to reduce water consumption.
As a business, we are legally committed to recycling everything that is recyclable. We diligently sort and process our waste to minimise our environmental footprint and adhere to all applicable recycling regulations.
Customer Engagement: We believe that recycling is a collective responsibility, and we encourage our customers to join us in our recycling initiatives. To make it easier for our customers to make sustainable choices, we provide clear information on the recyclability and compostability of our packaging. Customers can find this information right on the packaging.
Convenient Recycling: In our commitment to waste reduction, we have established a prominent clearly labelled recycling point in our car park. This recycling point is easily accessible to customers. It serves as a convenient location to dispose of recyclables properly. Additionally, we proudly display information on the amount of waste that has been recycled instead of ending up in landfills. This transparent reporting helps us track our progress and motivates us to continuously improve our waste reduction efforts.
Our staff lead an exercise aiming to save money by minimising breakage, wastage, and other areas of inefficiency, known as the Aggregation of Marginal Gains. They are in charge of identifying areas of improvement, creating and implementing a solution and monitoring its impact.
One of the latest initiatives of this exercise is a sauce waste reduction blackboard asking customers to only use the amount of sauce they will actually eat and informing them of the sauce amount wasted during the previous week.
5. Customer & employee travel
We have installed an EV charger at our location. This charging station is available for use by our patrons, making it convenient for electric vehicle owners to reduce their environmental impact.
We also actively explore and encourage environmentally friendly commuting options for our employees.
6. Going Beyond - Community Involvement
One way we actively engage with our local community is through our "Pick n Chips: Meet Up, Clean Up, Eat Up” Litterpicking campaign. We organise monthly litterpicks during which our staff and volunteers get together to collect roadside litter in the area. To date we engaged more than 400 volunteers and collected over 2 tonnes of litter.
We’re committed to growing this initiatives and partnering with other businesses in Scotland.
We are committed to continuously improving our practices, reducing our environmental impact, and providing our customers with the highest-quality food sourced responsibly.