Being a Wedding Planner sustainability is something that I am very conscious of. On average a pre-pandemic UK wedding was emitting a shocking 14.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and a third of a metric tonne of solid waste. So, I make it my business to find ways for my wedding couples to be as sustainable as they can when planning their wedding.
Sustainable wedding catering is a HUGE consideration when planning your wedding if concern about the climate is an important issue to you.
In this blog I am chatting with Aggie Galicka, owner of Heavy Metal Munchies, based in Carrbridge, in the Cairngorms National Park. Aggie is incredibly conscious of the key part she has to play in lowering a couple’s carbon footprint. Her food is amazing too!……
What do you do to be sustainable in your wedding catering business?
When starting Heavy Metal Munchies I had two things in mind: bringing the clients the best meals crafted to their requirements, and doing so sustainably. The latter can be tricky considering the amount of mass-produced ingredients we’re being offered, so I learned to follow a few rules.
- I make everything from scratch. This way I know exactly what goes into each dish and where it came from. Also, it makes it so much tastier!
- I shop locally to make sure the ingredients haven’t travelled far and to support local businesses. Again, it’s a win-win situation as local produce coming from a small business is usually of significantly better quality than from a mass produced one.
- I grow herbs and some veggies in my garden and also forage for certain ingredients. There’s so much wild food literally growing at our feet and incorporating them into my menus, makes them not only sustainable, but unique and full of flavour.
- I avoid unnecessary packaging. That’s a tricky part as everything seems to be packed in insane amount of plastic these days. But over the past two years of running HMM I’ve learned which manufacturers use more sensible packaging that can be recycled easily.
- Lastly, I avoid palm oil at all cost. Again, it can be tricky, as so much produce contain it. For example, finding palm oil-free cooking chocolate that comes in recyclable packaging took some legwork. However, it is worth the effort. I believe the only way to make larger corporations steer away from their reckless use of palm oil is to simply stop buying produce containing it.
If a couple are looking for a sustainable caterer, what sort of questions should they be asking their caterer?
I think the main question would be where the ingredients are sourced. Ordering massive amounts of food from wholesalers renders the origins of the particular ingredients very difficult to trace. It’s often lower quality and the food travels across the world leaving a massive carbon footprint behind it.
A local, tested butcher or a small cheese shop run by someone with real knowledge and passion can make all the difference. Buying from such places not only supports small businesses and reduces the carbon footprint, but also elevates the menu with ingredients chosen by someone with knowledge, passion and attention to quality.
How easy is it for you to source local, sustainably produced ingredients for your business?
It took a while to research my providers. I moved back to Scotland a few years ago and at first found finding sustainable ingredients quite hard. After some time, I discovered an amazing local butcher, a fishmonger who puts a lot of thought into sustainability, a refills shop which picks its produce with uttermost attention, fantastic miller and so on.
Alas, some ingredients- especially those that do come from overseas, have become harder to obtain recently; and those available become increasingly more expensive.
Are you finding an increased demand from your clients to be more sustainable when it comes to their wedding catering? Is it becoming more of a priority to them?
I find most of my clients support the sustainable approach and are always happy to hear this is the way I run things. However not many people ask for it to be a priority as they don’t believe it’s an option.
I would encourage anyone planning their special day to ask about sustainability. It’s a brilliant way to get the ball rolling. If you try to watch your own carbon footprint, why not motivate your chef to do the same. They might even discover running things sustainably benefits their business in more ways than one.
What 3 top tips do you have for readers who would like to cook in a more sustainable way?
- My top tip would be to read the label. You’ll learn where your food came from (the further away, the bigger the carbon footprint), what are the components, and if the packaging is recyclable or- even better- compostable.
- Avoid palm oil. I know at the beginning it seems like it is in literally everything. But it is avoidable and cutting it out can help saving one of the most important ecosystems on our planet.
- And lastly, chat to your local food providers about sustainability and the origins of their produce. I learn lots from my providers and I find that the more passionate they are, the better the produce.
And if you are planning your own wedding right now, please do review your wedding catering and maybe arrange a chat with your caterer. If you would like to chat with me about any aspect of sustainable wedding catering, just contact me via my website and we can set up a call.
Every couple that cuts their wedding carbon footprint, is making a tiny step towards helping the overall climate emergency.