How I Learnt to Cook

Tips For Making Your Buffet More Sustainable

Are you planning a buffet for your next party or corporate event? When discussing your requirements with your caterer, consider making sustainability a key focus. There are lots of easy swaps you can make to ensure you and your guests enjoy delicious food while knowing you've done what you can to make your event as environmentally friendly as possible. Here are a few tips for making your buffet more sustainable.

Ditch The Plastic

Work with a catering company to create a plastic-free buffet table that utilises reusable dishes or compostable single-use sundries, such as paper straws, bamboo cutlery and bleach-free napkins. Reusable mesh coverings can be used to keep bugs off of serving platters, and finger foods or appetizers that are usually served in small plastic dishes can be served in edible dishes. For example, if you're having shrimp cocktails on your buffet table, they can be served on a cos lettuce leaf to make the entire dish edible.  

Reduce Food Miles

Consider the food choices for your buffet table carefully. Do you really need to have that exotic fruit that's been flown halfway around the world, or could your caterer create a beautiful fruit platter using local and in-season fruits? Ask where your caterer gets their supplies and opt for a local company with a commitment to supporting other local businesses. There's usually no need to have produce shipped across the country and caterers are often willing to be flexible with their supply chain to meet customer requirements. If you're not sure what's in season or locally produced, check out Sustainable Table or Seasonal Food Guide for some inspiration.

Go Meat-Free

The environmental impact of reducing your meat consumption has been well documented, particularly with regard to factory-farmed meat. There are many mock types of meat on the market that provide the taste and texture of meat but with lower carbon emissions. Consider using mock meat in buffet favourites, such as sausage rolls, BLTs and pasta salads. Alternatively, give meat dishes and meat substitutes a miss altogether and focus on serving a plant-based menu. Examples of plant-based finger foods include vegetable crudités with guacamole and hummus dips, vegetable samosas, zucchini fritters, mushroom blinis and vegetable skewers with smoked tofu.

As you can see, it's not difficult to focus on sustainability when planning a buffet. A few small changes can make a difference and can help convey your values to your guests at the same time. If sustainability is important to you, make sure your caterer knows and they'll be able to plan a buffet menu you can be proud of. 

For more info, contact a local catering company.