National wholesaler JJ Foodservice is celebrating its 30th birthday this month and, as it looks ahead to the future, believes that environmentally friendly menu items will drive growth in foodservice.
The greenhouse gases released by agriculture and livestock are becoming increasingly well publicised in the media, together with the damaging effect of global warming on fish. The result is a dramatic change in eating out habits. Caterers must adapt, the wholesaler said.
Group CEO Mustafa Kiamil said, “The way we have been eating is simply not sustainable. Vegan options are no longer a ‘trend’ – they are fast becoming an established part of every menu, whether you are a takeaway, cafe, restaurant or school.'
The wholesaler reports that even its fast food customers are being asked about vegan and vegetarian options, including fish and chip shops – not the most common place you expect to find a vegan. The business, which is still family-owned, is helping customers to respond.
In the past year alone, JJ Foodservice has grown its vegetarian and vegan ranges, launched an eco-packaging category, which includes biodegradable and compostable options, and has reduced its carbon emissions by 2%. The wholesaler operates in totally paperless warehouses, uses solar-powered energy and has MSC-certification for all branches.
Kiamil, a former restaurateur, set up the first JJ Foodservice branch in 1988 after being left frustrated by unreliable suppliers when he was running a chain of burger restaurants. Thirty years later, the wholesaler has 11 branches across the UK, more than 800 staff and 30,000 customers.
JJ’s was the first wholesaler to introduce online ordering back in 2008 and has won multiple Awards, including ‘Digital Innovation’ and ‘Service to Caterers’ at the Federation of Wholesale Distributors’ Gold Awards last week, which celebrates the UK’s top wholesalers.