• Cyril McAree

Sustainability on the Menu at CATEX 2019


IRELAND’s biggest foodservice and hospitality event, CATEX, owned by IFSA (Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance) opened it's doors on Tuesday, 26th February, at the RDS Simmonscourt, and for businesses within the sector, newly released stats reveal that sustainability will be high on the agenda.

Home to 200 exhibitors, from Ireland’s biggest names in foodservice to artisan producers, the show is expected to attract 12,000 visitors from the foodservice, hospitality and catering sectors over three days.

A recent exhibitor survey* (February 2019) has revealed that 82% of exhibitors have noticed increased customer demand for products that are more sustainable, and 57% of respondents cited that over 50% of their customer base are now specifically requesting products that are environmentally-friendly or sustainable.

With the foodservice market worth a reported €8.2 billion according to Bord Bia’s Irish Foodservice Market Insights Report 2018**, the CATEX exhibitors’ research released today further confirms the importance of sustainability and environmental issues. It reinforces Bord Bia’s findings that highlighted ‘operating with a conscience is the expectation, not the exception’ as a critical issue facing foodservice in Ireland.

An early adopter in sourcing sustainable products, Down2Earth Materials was established in Cork in 2009, and the company has amassed an extensive range of certified compostable foodservice packaging, suppling over 2,000 food and beverage businesses in Ireland.

CATEX exhibitor, John Lynch from Down2Earth Materials adds: “We are celebrating our tenth birthday this year and the results of this research reinforce what we’ve been telling our customers for the last decade. Something had to change, and we are delighted to see customers having a choice when it comes to plant based and sustainable solutions, customers are now ‘conscious citizens’. They are actively looking to buy from brands who stand for something, and who are playing their role in protecting Ireland’s environment and future.”

The CATEX research also identified that 71% of foodservice and hospitality businesses surveyed said that they have expanded their product range to meet this growing demand for sustainable products, and 67% of respondents believe that the environmental credentials of a product are now affecting shoppers’ purchasing decisions.

One in four respondents believe that customers are willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly products, with 51% of respondents ‘unsure’. However, exhibitors overwhelming ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ (71%) that having environmentally-friendly products within their range gives them a competitive edge.

CATEX, an IFSA event, supported by Bunzl and Calor Gas, will play host to a range of events over the three days from Chef Masterclasses to Industry Insights. CATEX is also home to the Irish Coffee Championships, the Irish Cocktail Championships and features three days of sizzling competitions including the highly sought-after Chef of the Year.

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