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Sustainable Restaurant Association launches Foodprint to support restaurants in meeting consumer demand for climate-friendly foods

News | Published  16 July 2019

Today the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) launches Foodprint, a programme to support restaurants and the wider foodservice sector to track and reduce the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from the food they serve.

Food Service

Today the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) launches Foodprint, a programme to support restaurants and the wider foodservice sector to track and reduce the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from the food they serve.

Restaurants and the wider foodservice sector will be able to measure and reduce the climate impact of their menus, both individually and collectively, thanks to a new programme being launched today by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) in association with the Cool Food Pledge.  

Foodprint will support operators to decrease the environmental impact of the food they source and serve, while meeting rising consumer demand for a more conscious dining experience.

'Realising the environmental costs and potential benefits of the food we buy is key to building a great restaurant business fit for the future”, according to SRA Chief Executive Andrew Stephen.  Andrew added: “In recent years we’ve seen a move towards menus that are greener, including more veg and, significantly, reduced environmental impact. And while some operators like Zizzi, Leon and Wagamama are reaping the reward, the pace and depth of change has been insufficient.'

To accelerate and maximise the change across as many commercial kitchens as possible, the SRA has partnered with the Cool Food Pledge. The Cool Food Pledge, run by the World Resources Institute (WRI), helps foodservice operators reduce their food-related emissions by 25% by 2030. This partnership will open up access for operators to a straightforward way of measuring and tracking the climate impact of the food they serve, support and inspire them in developing plans to sell delicious dishes with smaller climate footprints, and promote their achievements as leaders in a growing movement. 

The SRA is the first organisation in the UK to partner with the Cool Food Pledge to introduce this approach. Participants will have access to the Cool Food Pledge’s suite of tools that simplify measuring and tracking their impact. The SRA will be working directly with operators up to 50 sites, while larger operators will work directly with the Cool Food Pledge team.

Daniel Vennard, Director of the Cool Food Pledge at WRI, said: 'The Cool Food Pledge is showing that climate action can be delicious. Already, companies serving more than 100 million meals annually have signed on to Cool Food and are using science-based strategies like more appetizing language to increase sales of climate-friendly foods. We are really excited that the SRA is working with the UK’s smaller food service operators to join this movement of serving tasty food while slashing food-related emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.'

Andrew Stephen added 'We are helping businesses to see the impact of their menus and targeting significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in a practical, targeted and manageable way. Partnering with the Cool Food Pledge gives our members the opportunity to be a part of a growing global movement towards less climate intensive food.  We believe this will help members reach new customers and that becoming a signatory is a timely sign to diners that your food business shares their values.'

Countless reports published in the last 18 months from the likes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, University of Oxford, World Resources Institute, WWF and most recently the Government’s own Committee on Climate Change have spelled it out – we all need to be eating less meat. More than 25% of global emissions come from food, and over half of this comes from animal products.

The SRA identified meat reduction as one of three essential issues for the sector to focus on 2019 in its impact report The Tastiest Challenge on the Planet. One of the expert contributors to that report was Professor Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City, University of London. 

Speaking at an event to launch Foodprint in London today, Prof Lang said: 'If we’re going to fix climate change, we have to fix food and that means drastically changing the amount and quality of meat we eat. ‘Less but better’. Chefs and menu-creators have the power and responsibility to shift our eating habits away from meat and dairy and towards more veg-based options. The SRA’s Foodprint programme is a very welcome initiative to help shift the sector at scale towards more planet-friendly menus and positively influence the eating habits of the nation.'

Businesses that sign up to Foodprint will submit the details of the most climate intensive items they buy every six months. The SRA will highlight the best examples of climate-kind menu innovation that are having real impact and, alongside a set of tools, resources, support and guidance like the SRA’s One Planet Plate initiative, operators will have everything they need to meet one of the tastiest challenges on the planet.

A number of operators have already succeeded in selling more veg-based dishes, meeting customer demand and reducing their impact in the process including Leon which has increased sales of their vegan and vegetarian meal by 21% and 18% respectively and Wagamama which has enjoyed a 60% rise in the proportion of customers choosing a vegan option.

At today’s launch event, Carl Clark, co-founder of Chik’n and Chick ‘n’ Sours, described the success of its new veggie burger, while Rob Howell, Head Chef, of Root, recounted how a complete flip of the menu to ten veg-based dishes with a couple of meat or fish sides has wowed customers in Bristol.

To find out how they can start reducing the environmental cost of their menus while tapping into a new and loyal customer base, chefs, menu developers and procurement professionals should register their interest in Foodprint here