Food tourism, undeniably, fuels the growth of destination marketing.
Rather than mere sightseeing, tourists are also actively planning out their trips to experience the culinary culture and the specialty dishes associated with the places they’re visiting. Just think of the crispy and savory lechon served by Rico’s Lechon in Cebu, or the famous hopia by Ho-land Hopia & Bakery in Binondo that is filled with delicious hot mongo bean paste.
It only makes sense why we Filipinos love to dine out, but this also begs the question if we’re being responsible diners.
World Wide Fund through Sustainable Diner, an initiative that calls to reduce food waste across the world, states that Filipinos waste up to 308,000 tons of rice every year. In Metro Manila alone, 2,175 tons of food end up in trash bins daily, citing that a great part of this problem lies in the traditional consumption and production processes which have already been established in our economy.
“The food service industry accounts for a substantial share of local consumption and production as dining out is fast becoming a part of the Filipino’s daily habit. In fact, spending on restaurants and hotels is the 2nd highest in terms of consumption expenditure growth, which indicates a growing culture of out-of-home consumption,” WWF said in a statement.
In retrospect, due to economic growth and increased income, Filipinos are now more willing to spend on higher-value goods and services, such as better quality meals, ready-to-eat food delivery services, and new restaurant trends.
A lot of local restaurants are now integrating sustainable practices in their operations. By choosing to dine with them, not only are you rewarding them for choosing to promote sustainability, but you are also encouraging others to join the movement.
Another way in which we can be sustainable diners is by choosing dishes made of ingredients that are in season. Farm to Table in Iloilo, for one, source their ingredients from local farms hence giving livelihood to Filipino farmers and small scale animal growers in the region.
While you’re at it, also try The Green Bar in Legaspi Village which is known for their delectable high-quality plant-based sandwiches, wraps, and burritos. WWF argues that while meat is rich in protein, meat production, especially beef, uses a huge amount of natural resources. Besides, there’s no better palate cleanser than a generous serving of fresh and organic salad.
In a similar vein, don’t be afraid to ask restaurants about the ingredients they’re using. Sustainability entails sourcing fresh produce locally. By asking questions, you are letting them know that their efforts are very much appreciated.
Filipinos love food, sure, but most of us are guilty of being takaw-tikim. By ordering only what we can consume, we help lessen food wastage. But if leftovers can’t be helped, do take them out and eat at home.
In addition, don’t be afraid to request modifications. “Half rice only, please!” or “no straw, please!” may feel like small efforts in your part, but doing so will help our environment one waste less at a time. Avoid using plastic utensils, straws, and containers, which restaurants would most likely provide. Not only will you help save the environment, you are also helping restaurants achieve their own sustainability goals.
Finally, some restaurants and fastfood chains would require diners to practice CLAYGO, or Clean As You Go. When required, make sure you segregate your trash properly. It’s a great help for restaurants, who are conscious about how they manage waste.
If we gradually change how we think about food, our actions will really go a long way in saving the world we’ll leave to the younger generation by supporting sustainable consumption and responsible production principles.
Author’s note: In the next column of #NoPlanetB, I’ll be talking about Eco Hotel and how they apply green principles to its structure and practices in order to minimize its impact on the environment.