New research has uncovered that as many as three in four adults would prefer to eat in a restaurant which displays carbon footprint details on menus, helping them make more informed decisions over what they eat.  

The findings, uncovered by E.Mission, a carbon consultancy for hospitality businesses, make, says the company, the clearest business case yet for more sustainable menus. The start-up company is offering all UK hospitality outlets the opportunity to undertake a carbon menu analysis and labelling service, helping them to educate diners on the carbon-impact of their meals, or as E.Mission likes to call it, their Carbon ForkprintTM.

A first of its kind, E.Mission’s menu analysis service uses academic data to calculate the Carbon ForkprintTM of each dish – based on both the ingredients’ sourcing and how emission intensive the food production process is. With 78% of diners saying they’d like to reduce their environmental impact by making more informed choices on their food when eating out*, E.Mission’s ‘Carbon ForkprintTM’ service enables restaurants to empower consumers to achieve their sustainable dining goals.

James Bagshaw, Co-Founder E.Mission comments: “Eager to reduce their carbon footprint, consumers are asking questions about the content and origin of the food they consume and the impact on their health and the environment. No longer is allergy and nutritional information enough on menus, consumers are hungry to learn more about sustainable eating. Displaying the Carbon ForkprintTM of dishes, in a similar way to calories, helps consumers make more informed decisions about what they eat.”

It’s reported that more than half of consumers (54%) think they themselves could be doing more to try to live more sustainably^ and hospitality outlets can play a vital role in helping them do so. According to MCA Insight, eating out contributed 43.2% of total spend on food & beverages in 2018, so it’s clear, the choices consumers make when dining out can have a big impact on their carbon footprint.

The consumer demand for the Carbon ForkprintTM on menus is clear; more than 90% of adults say large restaurant chains and caterers have a responsibility to do all they can to help our environment*. The business case for more sustainable menus is equally as strong; providing information on the carbon footprint of a dish not only makes sense from an ethical standpoint, it makes sense commercially. Lower carbon foods tend to carry a lower cost while conversely, research shows 80% of UK adults are happy to pay more for their meals if the food benefits society. 

James says: “Your sustainable menu can offer a healthy margin to your business, help to drive footfall of ethical consumers and improve your brand perception as a responsible, environmentally aware operator.”