Putting sustainability on the menu

Inspired by her Italian heritage, Giovanna Eusebi, owner of Eusebi Deli in Glasgow, is working to promote the importance of reducing food waste.

Eusebi Deli is bringing the low food waste revolution to Glasgow. Inspired by owner Giovanna Eusebi’s Italian heritage and her family’s approach to low food waste, Eusebi Deli is ensuring Glasgow’s foodies have the best Italian food on offer, with minimal waste.

Owner of Eusebi's Deli, Giovanna Eusebi

Inspiring heritage

“My values around sustainability come from my grandparents,” says Giovanna. “They were from Southern Italy, where poverty levels mean a sustainable mindset is essential. In many ways the region is a pioneer of the low waste movement. People grow and eat seasonal food and nothing goes to waste – the whole of a vegetable is used, for example, using techniques like drying and bottling to make ingredients last longer.

“We’ve brought this approach to the deli as well as taking other steps to ensure we’re working as sustainably as possible.”

Reducing waste

All chefs at the deli work on the ethos that it’s bad management to throw food away. Rigorous fridge walkthroughs take place every morning so the team can assess what needs using and by when; portion size is carefully considered so people are less likely to leave food on their plate, and biodegradable or recyclable containers are used where possible.

If there is any surplus food, it is turned into meals for a local homeless charity.

The team have also developed strong relationships with local growers and suppliers, so they have a good understanding of the effort that goes into producing the food we eat and are able to make use of seasonal, local ingredients.

As well as taking steps to reduce waste in the deli, Giovanna is an active campaigner, supporting wider change across Glasgow by working with city allotments, bringing issues to the fore of local government discussions and partnering with business groups to help other SMEs learn from her journey.

During COP26, Eusebi Deli was part of the Plate Up For Glasgow campaign which saw 36 restaurants and bars including on their menu a dish or drink low in waste and made from ingredients which would otherwise have gone to landfill.

Getting ahead of the curve

Giovanna’s approach to food waste and sustainability has always been a cornerstone of the business, but it hasn’t been without risk.

“When we first began, there were easier ways to make money within hospitality,” says Giovanna. “But by having and holding onto our values, the business has gone from strength to strength and now we’re able to capitalise on being ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability and food waste.

“The biggest challenge can be the lack of help. Having big dreams and a big vision can sometimes feel relentless, when not everybody around you does. We try to focus on the good we create.

“Things are changing too. Banks are more open to lending for sustainable purposes for example, Bank of Scotland have been a good partner to us.”

Looking to the future

Moving forward, Giovanna and team are working on improving the energy-efficiency of the deli. They already use green lighting, induction hobs and timer technology to ensure all cooking is as efficient as possible, and a refit at the start of 2022 provided the opportunity to assess all equipment and see where future improvements could be made.

They are also keen to do more in terms of reducing food waste and have engaged Zero Waste Scotland to work with them on managing food calculations and buying less but better.

“Food waste has a bigger impact on climate change than plastic waste,” says Giovanna. “It’s essential that we change our mindset. The small changes can make all the difference."

“Eusebi Deli’s work to reduce food waste and be more sustainable is inspiring,” says Stuart Galbraith, Relationship Manager, Bank of Scotland. “We recently invited Giovanna to meet with our sustainability champions so we can learn more about what they are doing and how we can help support our clients when it comes to being more sustainable.”

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