Food Safety and Sustainability: Can they Coexist?

Eating at a Meeting Podcast Episode 22

Close-up of a smiling man with brown hair wearing a plaid shirt. He is sitting in a restaurant with windows behind him. He is an expert in food Safety and sustainability

COVID-19 has brought food safety to the limelight while pushing sustainability to the wayside. But, can they coexist? Eric Wallinger, Director of Sustainability of MeetGreen says YES!

In the conversation, learn from Eric how providing safe and inclusive food and beverage events in the middle of a pandemic can also be sustainable. Eric offers his advice and resources to help event organizers maintain and increase their sustainability efforts.

What do safe, inclusive & sustainable food and beverage experiences look like to you?

They contain education as a central part of the experience. I continue to find that attendees, customers and stakeholders benefit tremendously, and are also infinitely more open to support, a wide range of initiatives when they better understand the “why” or “who is impacted” components.

Do you have an example of a situation that negatively effected you and/or other individuals or groups’ food and beverage experience?

Working in sustainability, it is primarily on the excessive of single-use packaging side of things and service-ware strategies not linked well with venue waste infrastructure and signage. From a menu perspective, it is often when there are less fresh or “healthy” options available- but things have come a long way over the past decade!

What do you wish people knew about what you do?

That there is a surprisingly small to non-existent amount data collected from the environmental footprint of events. MeetGreen is doing its best to gather and report from those projects we work on, but as an industry we struggle to consistently measure our impacts like waste, energy, water, carbon and much more!

What is a best practice you use/or have seen to create safe and inclusive F&B experiences?

Supporting your local and regional enterprises. The power of your “spend” magnifies exponentially when it stays in your community. It also significantly reduces the carbon footprint of your supply chain, through minimizing transportation miles. Our local businesses need this patronage now more than ever!


Connect with Eric —  Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  LinkedIn  |  Twitter

Check out other featured guests on the Eating at a Meeting podcast

MeetGreens’s Safety & Sustainability in 2020

Green Peace’s Health Expert Statement