Serving hundreds of dishes from dozens of the region’s best chefs, KIN is just about as sustainable as a restaurant can get – their furniture uses upcycled materials, their ingredients are sourced ethically and locally, their kitchens have eliminated single-use plastics, their waste is recycled or composted wherever possible, their delivery system is carbon-free… oh, and their food is pretty delicious too!
We talk to Matt about his best and worst eco habits, why current food delivery platforms are flawed and what inspired his Eureka moment.
1. In one sentence, tell us what you do?
I’m a purpose-driven serial entrepreneur, documentary producer and most recently, a father.
2. Why are you an 8Shader?
I really didn’t like the idea of getting a meal that had just been sitting on the back of a moped, with little or no information about where the ingredients had come from. As a restaurant operator myself, I knew from first-hand experience that the food industry is in crisis. The Eureka moment was seeing that we had to change the system, not simply participate in it.
Today’s increased demand for food for convenience is hurting the world we live in. Single-use plastic packaging, monoculture farming and a whole bunch of other issues are things that we must address. We need to be replenishing what we take from the Earth, so we leave a world behind that’s suitable for our kids to live in.
3. What’s your best eco habit – and your guilty not-so green one?
Growing and harvesting my own vegetables in my home garden. On the flip side, getting coffee in takeaway cups.
4. Fave eco product?
HoldOn, a US-launched product that is taking on single-use Ziploc bags and bin liners with their heavy-duty, plant-based, 100 percent home compostable trash and storage bags.
5. Fave veggie dishes in Hong Kong?
The plant-based smoked “cod” and Peking duck from Mott 32. They retain the tradition and authenticity of their original dishes and are just as delicious.
6. In terms of sustainability, what sets KIN apart from other dining destinations in Hong Kong?
Due to our Maximal restaurants, we’ve had a pretty global viewpoint on the impact of Covid – and KIN is our innovation response. We saw a huge jump in consumers ordering food via apps, but the current delivery platforms are a necessary evil that offer marginal financial impact and zero emotional connection. KIN addresses the flaws we saw in existing food delivery models, enabling a profitable relationship for all parties without the environmental impact.
Currently, delivery companies – who aren’t profitable anyway – charge restaurants sometimes more than 25 percent commission; Hong Kong restaurants don’t run on margins that high, so costs need to be cut somewhere and often that’s in ingredients. We franchise individual recipes from creators, following our ingredients charter to guarantee the quality and sustainability of ingredients – ensuring our margins by saving time in costs through technology, rather than ingredient quality.
On the environmental front, single orders wrapped in plastic and styrofoam are currently transported across the city on mopeds; the waste and carbon produced by this is not sustainable. This is why KIN focuses on dense vertical communities, where we use walkers to provide carbon-free delivery. They deliver the food in reusable packaging that can be collected later, much like how hotels deliver room service to guests. This offers a better dining experience with less impact on the environment.
7. What is something about sustainable eating that you think people in Hong Kong should be more aware of?
Awareness of where their food comes from. As a restaurant operator myself, I saw that we need to create systemic change to drive real meaningful impact – which is why we created KIN. Our biggest impact is with our supply chain. We source locally as much as possible and regionally only when absolutely necessary. We’re committed to procuring ingredients from responsible, traceable suppliers and farms, enabling us to tell our guests where ingredients are from.
8. What shade of green are you?
Pantone 7734U. It’s an earthy shade of green that represents growth and balance, things I strive to achieve.
Find out more about KIN
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