2019: A year in review – People

Editor's choice: People of the year. Tina Nielsen points to the gamechangers of 2019

An increased focus on sustainability, climate change and social issues has prompted a flurry of progressive campaigns and concepts. Here, the editor of FCSI’s Foodservice Consultant magazine Tina Nielsen gives her pick of the those that changed the game in 2019.

Douglas McMaster

The British chef told Foodservice Consultant this year about his mission to create a 100% zero-waste restaurant, as he opened the second incarnation of his restaurant Silo in east London.

McMaster is among the pioneers of zero-waste practice in the restaurant world. Implementing closed loop sourcing, using every part of every ingredient and an unwavering commitment to reuse rather than recycle, he has equipped his restaurant with transformative equipment, including a centre-piece composter and a grinder that turns glass bottles into a fine powder, which in turn is converted into crockery.

Patrick Brown

It is no exaggeration that 2019 was the year of the vegan. While recent years have seen a proliferation of vegcentric dishes, the biggest development in foodservice this year has been the race for prime position in the plant-based meat substitute market.

Among the contenders, Impossible Burger certainly came out on top as far as visibility is concerned. Chefs and fast food operators across the world have incorporated the ubiquitous burger, made of soy beans, into their vegetarian and vegan menu options. Patrick Brown founded Impossible Foods in 2011 as a way to combat climate problems and has gained significant traction in the global market, with few competitors to see off.

Francesca DeBiase

In her role as McDonald’s chief supply chain and sustainability officer, DeBiase and her team have driven the fast food operator’s approach to sustainability with its Scale for Good platform and targets.

Eliminating plastic waste has become a major focus for all operators as states and countries worldwide began legislating for a world with less waste – Seattle banned plastic straws as far back as 2008 and many have followed in the years since. McDonald’s was one of the first big chains to ditch plastic straws at all UK restaurants this year; next is an attempt to do away with plastic waste from the toys that are given out with meals. Recycling bins will be installed in stores and toys will be melted down and turned into new products such as play equipment.

The focus on plastic doesn’t mean other sustainability targets fall by the wayside – McDonald’s in the US also announced 100% sustainably sourced coffee a year ahead of the scheduled target.

(Picture: Francesca DeBiase, Twitter)


Extinction Rebellion

Whatever you may think of the group, there have been few other campaigns as effective this year in highlighting the desperate state of the climate crisis and underline the need to act on it.

The non-violent protests pointed to unsustainable farming practices and an unhealthy reliance on imported foods, leading to global food shortages while an obscene amount of food continues to be wasted all over the world.

Tina Nielsen

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