4 easy ways beans help operators with sustainability

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Consumers seeking sustainable food options are no longer a niche market. Whether they’re motivated by healthy eating habits or environmental concerns, more and more consumers are making sustainable food choices a priority, and operators are responding to the demand. According to Technomic’s May 2019 Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility Report, the majority (73%) of operators expect sustainability and social responsibility to take on a greater role over the next two years.

Some sustainable practices require operators to make bigger changes than others. Stocking the kitchen with beans is a simple way to go greener while keeping costs and labor low—and Bush’s canned beans make it even easier. 

1.  Beans are a sustainable crop.

With beans, sustainability starts at the root—literally. Whereas some crops strip the earth and degrade the quality of the farmland left behind, beans have the rare ability to replenish the soil they’re planted in. Thanks to their nitrogen-fixing properties, legumes (such as beans) have a reduced need for fertilizers, which, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, helps decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Including legumes in crop rotations reduces the risks of soil erosion and depletion and can even transfer fixed nitrogen to crops subsequently planted in the same soil.

And this is just the starting point. Sustainable farming practices make growing beans even more earth-friendly. Bush’s, for example, irrigates some of its bean fields with recycled water to reduce the impact on the environment while maintaining a high-quality product. 

2. Beans are packaged in recyclable cans.

Eco-friendly packaging is a hot topic, and for good reason. Many foods come packaged in single-use materials that go straight to a landfill after they are thrown out. According to MarketWatch, “less than 14% of plastic packaging is recycled and single use food and beverage packaging is one of the largest sources of the 269,000 tons of plastic pollution in the oceans.”

Canned beans can help change the narrative. Bush’s uses steel #10 cans, which are highly recyclable—which means that waste can be eliminated completely without any added fuss in the kitchen. Using products with recyclable packaging, and then recycling them, can play a significant role in reducing the amount of waste that finds its way into landfills, aquifers and bodies of water. 

3. Beans are an easy plant-based protein. 

More and more consumers are cutting animal products out of their diets. According to Technomic’s 2019 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian Consumer Trend Report, 30% of consumers cite concerns about the environmental impact of meat production and fishing as a motivation to eat more plant-based options, and 58% of consumers who eat plant-based dishes say they would consider ordering beans as a protein substitute for meat. 

Additionally, beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol and can also assist with weight control by providing a feeling of satiety. Whether swapped in for meat or added to dishes, beans appeal to consumers eating plant-based and meat-based dishes alike, making them a perfect menu staple for operators looking for an alternative protein that can please crowds.

4. Beans are the ultimate waste-nothing multitaskers.

Beans are one of the most versatile products an operator can keep in stock: Across meal parts and dayparts, they incorporate seamlessly into a wide variety of dishes. And thanks to beans’ low cost and long shelf life, operators can confidently stock up on canned beans without worrying about them going to waste. 

Plus, the leftover liquid in the can serves as a surprisingly adaptable ingredient on its own. Use it to thicken a stew or chili, add it to refried beans to give them an extra-creamy consistency or even whip aquafaba (the liquid in a can of garbanzo beans) until it’s fluffy and use it to make a vegan whipped cream or merengue. 

Whether operators are looking to increase sustainability to cut costs, to meet consumer demand or just for the sake of going green itself, incorporating Bush’s beans across the menu is a low-cost, low-fuss way to do it. To learn more, visit bushbeansfoodservice.com.

This post is sponsored by Bush’s Best®


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