Get to Know Boniviri, Our New Partner Bringing the FMG Standard to Italy
Last week, we were thrilled to announce a new partnership with Boniviri, an innovative Sicilian start-up and benefit company founded with the mission of creating value with food.
The goal of this partnership is to help restaurateurs, food and beverage managers and chefs across Italy address issues in the food system and spread the word about the Food Made Good Standard. The most recognised sustainability accreditation in the world for the hospitality sector, this comprehensive Standard measures, tracks and certifies the social and environmental commitment of companies operating in the restaurant industry.
Our global partnerships are an incredibly valuable part of our work, helping us bring the Food Made Good Standard to new horizons. In kicking off this exciting new working relationship, we chatted with Boniviri about the work they do, the future of the Italian food and hospitality sector and how we can work together to effect positive change from field to table.
Tell us a bit about the history of Boniviri.
Boniviri is a benefit company established in 2020. Our goal is to support small local farms to market their products with a focus on sustainability at all stages of production and marketing, and to help clients such as chefs, resellers and end consumers find sustainable, healthy, top-quality foods. Boniviri was included by 50 Best in the 50 Next, the list of 50 most influential global initiatives in the field of gastronomy.
Describe the work you do.
On one side of the business, we have created a network of 14 small Italian agricultural companies with whom we collaborate to develop food products of the highest quality. On the other, we support our clients — such as restaurants — with consulting activities in the search for sustainable and excellent raw materials. We also create innovative and high social value solutions for corporate gifting and welfare.
Can you explain your motto, “Eat well doing good”?
The concept we express with this motto is that when we buy food, it’s more than nourishment: it’s allocating value to a certain kind of economy and way of doing business. We believe that by eating well, it is possible to do good by paying attention to the origin and sustainability of products and the stories of those behind them.
How would you describe Italy’s food culture, both historically and today?
This is a very deep and complex question. Food culture in Italy has very deep roots: it uses raw materials typical of the Mediterranean diet and approaches the table as a moment of sharing and opening a dialogue. Regional varieties are very important and form part of the country's food culture.
Today, the influence of culinary cultures from other parts of the world has helped to change, enrich and, in some ways, endanger the Italian food tradition. The challenge is to interpret these changes as opportunities, to preserve culture but at the same time innovate, and to embrace the challenge of a food system that is sustainable and therefore compatible with the resources and needs of our planet.
How would you describe Italy’s hospitality industry when it comes to sustainability?
The industry is very diverse and fragmented, and there are different types of players in the hospitality field. Some of these demonstrate attention to the values of sustainability, preferring responsibly produced foods, while others have an approach that’s tied to contingent needs and cost dynamics. In many cases, there is not full clarity as to what sustainability means in food. We believe that there is a strong need for education around these issues, and the promotion of the Food Made Good standard can make a huge contribution to the sector.
What do you see as the biggest barriers to a sustainable sector?
The main barriers are related to cost and education. In the first case, we need to make those in the industry understand that the changes to be put in place may mean increased costs, but will also bring great opportunities. This is their chance to intercept a fundamental trend in the food sector, attracting increasingly aware and attentive consumers.
When it comes to education, it is necessary to contend with a still superficial knowledge of the values and concepts related to sustainability. It’s important that we share knowledge and start a process of raising awareness.
What changes would you like to see in the industry in the future?
I would like to see an approach to eating that considers not only the pleasure of food itself — the taste — but also the story behind the food and how it can do good for us as consumers and the planet. Eating well will not come without making conscious choices and creating value through food.
This change will have to be as democratic as possible, overcoming the notion that sustainable means more expensive. Doing so will require increasingly active involvement from decision-makers, who will need to have the lucidity and firmness to support food types and production methods that are sustainable and compatible with the resources the planet has, in consideration of the people who inhabit it.
Change can start from the bottom. First movers in the restaurant industry who understand these trends put them into practice in their own realities — promoting a small, big revolution in the world of food.
To what extent do you think sustainable practices in hospitality are being driven by customer demand?
We see a combination of influencing factors at play. There is a growing and obvious demand from consumers, who are increasingly asking about the healthfulness and impact of the foods they consume. At the same time, there’s a growing interest from hospitality players who — by acting as first movers — can introduce new trends and become industry leaders. In this context, legislative pressures in terms of sustainability and reporting are also an important driver of change, especially for the larger players subject to such regulations.
What do you see as the top three priority focus areas for hospitality businesses wanting to embrace sustainability?
This question is best answered through the three pillars of the Food Made Good standard: Sourcing (particularly engaging with suppliers to improve traceability and transparency in the supply chain), Society (paying attention to better staff treatment and welfare policies to overcome the current staff shortages) and Environment (with a focus on measurement-based solutions for all impacts).
To this, we can add a cross-cutting component, which is the management or governance of sustainable practices within organisations, especially the larger ones. Those who make decisions when it comes to sourcing food will need to have among their criteria not only quality and cost, but also the sustainability of the products purchased — and to be accountable for this.
In your eyes, what makes a restaurant sustainable?
First and foremost is the awareness and willingness to put themselves out there, consistently aligning their practices with sustainability recommendations. This openness is key to being able to ensure a path of change and adaptation to new trends.
These are several operational elements that make a restaurant sustainable. These include choosing the right foods (seasonal, local, ethically and sustainably produced); demonstrating respect for workers and support of the local community; making conscious choices in terms of carbon emissions; careful and responsible use of natural resources; and avoiding any possible waste.
All of these areas must be monitored to understand the organisation's performance and bring continuous improvement to the area of sustainability.
What makes you most excited about this new partnership with The SRA?
The food sector has a great responsibility when it comes to sustainability, with the capability to make conscious and responsible choices along the entire supply chain, from field to table.
Thanks to this partnership, we will be able to spread the most recognised sustainability standard in the world for the catering sector across Italy: the beating heart of Mediterranean food, and the protagonist of its history. This is a fantastic opportunity for companies to demonstrate their environmental and social commitment through concrete actions and put sustainability at the centre of their operations.
Is there any other comment you’d like to make as we launch this new working partnership?
We look forward to being able to involve the first Italian players, the first movers, who will pave the way for our little revolution in the world of hospitality. It will be a complex but highly motivating adventure upon which we’re excited to embark.
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