Tips on finding a sustainable eatery in any locale

By Barbara L. Nelson, Content Writer

From sourcing local ingredients and producing more in-season focused dishes to eliminating waste, restauranteurs quickly catch onto sustainability because eco-conscious sojourners demand it in their travels.  

According to the US National Restaurant Association’s 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry report, the desire for local sourcing is impacting eco-conscious diners and travellers alike. The report indicates that 38% of those surveyed were more likely to choose a restaurant that offers locally-sourced foods over one that doesn’t, whereas 30% said they’d likely choose a restaurant offering food grown in an environmentally-friendly way or raised organically over one that doesn’t. 

Restaurants that serve locally-sourced wines and beers also appeal. And the research indicates that younger generations are more inclined to make a dining decision based on sustainability, with 48% of millennials and 40% of Gen Zs favouring that choice.

Restaurant sustainability refers to food businesses that minimise their impact on the planet by addressing issues like sustainable farming, their carbon footprint, shortening their supply chain, food wastage, packaging, water and energy consumption, recycling, and more.

To help determine whether a restaurant is sustainable, a few organisations certify restaurants on sustainability. You can look out for these labels while you travel: Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), Green Restaurant Association and LEAF. And as with most everything these days, there are also helpful sustainable eating apps that you can download, as listed in this Forbes article. Vegans will love Happy Cow for finding a nearby vegan restaurant to their liking.

Several top publications also are catching on by creating lists of the leading sustainable restaurants, including Matador, Conde Nast Traveller, The Rupp Report, Business Chief, Michelin’s Top 10 in the US, Chef Sac and Luxidors. Eat Well Guide is one of our favourites if you’re travelling in the US or if dining in the UK Country & Town House compiles a yearly list.

In addition, you can usually find a sustainable eatery list online or by visiting the local visitors or tourist bureaus. And many hotels are now keen on helping their guests with sustainable travel and will have a list of sustainable restaurants available at the front desk or the concierge’s desk.

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