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Sodexo to publish carbon labelling on menus at more than 300 sites in 2024

New research from Sodexo shows there is a growing expectation among consumers to see low-carbon options and carbon labelling on menus.

As part of its commitment to ensuring 70 per cent of its main dishes will be low carbon by 2030, Sodexo UK & Ireland is working in partnership with Eaternity to calculate the carbon footprint of its dishes and is set to add carbon labels to menus at more than 300 of its UK and Ireland sites by the end of 2024.

According to WWF, global food systems account for around 30 per cent of all greenhouse gases emitted around the world. The organisation also stated that bringing the current UK diet down to 3.12kg CO2e per person per day would deliver over half of the food emissions reductions needed by 2030.

To better understand UK consumers’ current familiarity with carbon labelling, and attitudes towards low-carbon meals, Sodexo commissioned consumer research, which was conducted by Savanta. The results revealed:

  • Sixty per cent of UK respondents said they do not recall ever having seen carbon labelling on food products or menus.
  • One in five people (20 per cent) said they actively seek out food products and places to eat that include carbon labelling as this makes it easier for them to manage their carbon footprint. This almost doubled to 39 per cent among those aged 18-24.
  • Twenty-eight per cent agreed they would pay a higher price, within reason, for a food product or restaurant that was low-carbon or offered low-carbon options. This increased to almost half (47 per cent) of 18-24-year-olds.
  • More than a third (36 per cent) said they expect restaurants and food-to-go outlets to offer low-carbon options and provide carbon labelling. While 40 per cent said they expect food products to feature carbon labelling.

A universally recognised definition for a low-carbon meal doesn’t currently exist, so Sodexo has conducted a review of existing research and with guidance from its technical partner, WWF, has set its own definition as one for which the production generates 0.9 kgCO2e or less.

Sodexo estimates that by 2030, its carbon savings in food services will be 100,800 tCO2e, which is the equivalent of flying around the world 8,579 times, representing a 38.24 per cent reduction compared to its baseline figure published in 2017.

Sodexo’s chefs continue to work hard to reformulate recipes and develop new ones to create low carbon dishes and meet its target of 70 per cent of its main dishes to be low carbon by 2030, a key lever in its SBTI-validated net zero targets.

Charles Abraham, Food Director at Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “We are committed to helping our consumers make informed and sustainable meal choices, without compromising on taste or affordability. Our chefs relish the opportunity to use the Eaternity data to rework our traditional favourite dishes as well as adding new, exciting low-carbon options that everyone will enjoy.”

Manuel Klarmann, CEO at Eaternity, said: “Eaternity is delighted to be working with Sodexo on a shared ambition to help society move towards a more sustainable food future. Trustworthy and transparent information is key to helping diners make more sustainable choices and understand the difference they can make every mealtime.”

Lisa Huggins, Food Service Sustainable Diets Manager at WWF UK, added: “We are facing a triple challenge: continuing to produce the food we need while addressing the twin threats of climate change and nature loss. There is a huge opportunity for food businesses like Sodexo to help address this challenge by enabling people to make healthier, sustainable food choices. Alongside staff training and customer education, environmental impact labelling, such as carbon footprint labelling, has the potential to raise awareness of the impacts that the meals we enjoy can have. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Sodexo as they seek to deliver this work.”

FM Tech Survey 2024 

Service Works Global (SWG) is conducting research in partnership with FMJ, to find out how you are using technology in your role through a short survey.

Whatever your FM role, your responses will help to provide analysis and insight into the use of technology, as the FM industry rises to meet the challenges of sustainability, new ways of working and data-driven decision making. This will enable FMs to gain insight into future trends to stay ahead of the curve, and be able to benchmark against the industry as a whole.

The anonymised results will be published so that you can see how you compare to others within the sector.

The survey should take just 5-10 minutes of your time, and as a thank you, participants will be entered into a prize draw where one lucky winner will be picked at random to receive an iPad 10th Generation worth £499.

To take part click here.

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