Blog : Local Company Helps Independent Restaurants - And Their Customers - Avoid a Landfill Legacy

By Katelyn | Nov 26, 2014 | in

By Kristyn Lak Miller

SOMERSWORTH — Leftovers from a restaurant dinner last only a few days in the refrigerator, yet the take-out container they’re in might last lifetimes in the landfill. Not if Favorite Foods has anything to do with it.

Founded nearly 30 years ago, community-based, environmentally-responsible Favorite Foods is fully committed to sustainable, local, and ethical food services. The family-owned company serves independent restaurants throughout New Hampshire and along the Maine seacoast, supplying each with quality products and innovative solutions. Part of the Favorite Foods mission is to enhance the communities it serves—one way is by educating restaurants on the benefits of using compostable products, and encouraging the switch from conventional paper or Styrofoam.

“We started offering compostable products six years ago, and we now stock compostable trash bag liners, cutlery, several sizes of hot drinking cups and cold drinking cups, cup lids, drinking straws, soup containers, various sizes of plates, and take-out containers,” said Kelly Donohue, of Favorite Foods. “Over the years, it’s become easier to find these types of products, and the costs have gotten much better. We use vendors that give us the best value. Products are starting to be made in the USA—we’ve even gotten some from Maine.”

“Most restaurants that are into composting understand the importance of using compostable products, and have an ‘all in’ approach,” said Donohue. “However there are a handful that don’t see the value. The hesitation is price. The cost can typically be 50 percent higher than traditional paper and 75 percent higher than foam. It’s hard to convince a restaurant to do the right thing if they struggle to see the bigger picture.”

There are a number of restaurants that do see that bigger picture. Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s Two Ceres Street and Poco’s Bow Street Cantina, both co-owned by Marlisa Geroulo use environmentally sustainable products for their to-go packaging.

“It’s important for Two Ceres and Poco’s to use compostable products because that’s a key piece in the mission statement of both restaurants: to leave as little a footprint as possible,” said Geroulo. “I only wish that people would realize that ‘doing the right thing’—that is, using compostables, recycling, eating organic and local—is definitely better for Mother Earth and its inhabitants.”

Mariah Roberts, owner of Beach Pea in Kittery, Maine, also uses compostable products in her eco-friendly bakery.

“To us, Styrofoam is basically a single-serving of foreign oil, and we felt that adding to that problem was the worst thing we could do as a business,” said Roberts. “Although it’s the cheapest mode of packaging, it’s also the worst: it can’t be recycled, you can’t get anything out of it after it’s used, and it’s horrible for the environment.”

Customers can do their part by requesting compostable products from restaurants that don’t currently use them, and frequenting those restaurants that already do. An important parallel step is making sure things are green behind the scenes in restaurant kitchens.

“It would be great if we could educate restaurants employees to be mindful of the earth every day,” said Donohue. “I don’t think much thought is given to what is put into restaurant dumpsters that ends up in the ground. Education is key here. And then maybe we can set some public goals, and hold restaurants a little more accountable.”

“Certainly, everyone wants to have an enduring legacy, but no one wants a landfill legacy,” said Donohue. “By being more mindful of what we eat and how our food is prepared and served—and how any scraps are disposed of—we can make a real, vital difference, in the landfill and beyond.”

Favorite Foods provides local, independent restaurants with everything from dry groceries, meats, dairy products, and frozen goods to compostable products; additionally, the company offers comprehensive consultation to restaurants on menu design, customer tastes, costing, and business development strategies. Its client list includes many independent restaurants throughout the seacoast of Maine and New Hampshire, including The Portsmouth Brewery, the sister company of Smuttynose Brewing Company. Like the Portsmouth Brewery, Smuttynose, who completed work on their new, energy-efficient brewing facility in Hampton, will work with Favorite Foods distribution and products at their new on-site restaurant, Hayseed, scheduled to open in early 2015.

In addition to promoting and distributing eco-friendly products, Favorite Foods, like the Portsmouth Brewery and Smuttynose, is a partnering business in the Green Alliance, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based organization that connects green-minded consumers with local businesses doing their part to lessen their environmental impact.

To learn more about Favorite Foods, click here.

Green Alliance Business Partners can earn up to a 10% discount on their first eight weeks of purchases from Favorite Foods! Not a member? Join here!