If there is one clear message that came out of COP26, it’s that without immediate action, the world is not sustainable for humans in the long run. More needs to be done in many areas - including within the catering business and hospitality sectors.

In this article, we provide 7 ways you can reduce CO2 emissions, and still help your business to grow in UK hospitality.

Cut back on packaging - including plastics

Managing food within catering businesses and hospitality sectors without packaging isn’t easy, but even a small reduction in the amount of packaging we use can make a huge difference. Packaging that’s biodegradable also helps - and that means using less plastic.

You probably knew this already, but what changes are you making within your organisation? To keep it simple, take a look at the one biggest packaging waste you currently have and consider how you could cut back on waste on that one item.

Alternative and innovative food ingredients

How do your customers feel about eating crickets?

Many people may cringe at the idea, but using insects as an ingredient for dishes can actually taste OK (the author of this article is happy to endorse this from experience!).

The reason we turn our noses up at the idea of eating insects is mostly about perception and not being used to it, but there are many types of insects that are high in protein and considered much more sustainable than alternatives such as beef and chicken.

If insects aren’t heading to your dishes soon, there are other alternatives that are becoming much more acceptable, such as halloumi and various plant-based ingredients.

Reduce food wastage

Easier said than done, right? Food wastage costs money and it also means that more food is being farmed and grown than we need. Whether that means we should be producing less food or that food could be better used elsewhere, such as in poorer countries, cutting back on food waste can help the planet. But how do we do that?

There are various ways to reduce wastage that involve careful planning. Better forecasting of demand is the ideal solution. Another way to avoid throwing food away is to create ‘dish of the day’ options based on any surplus or soon-to-perish ingredients.

Finally, stocking and using ingredients that have a long shelf life will reduce daily wastage.

Source locally

Sourcing local foods can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint and, while it’s not always easy with the British climate, there are still a lot of food ingredients available that don’t need to be shipped or flown in.

Electric vehicles and reduced trips

There is a growing number of electric vans and lorries available that can reduce CO2 emissions. If you are covering reasonable distances or doing a lot of transporting in urban areas, then having an electrical vehicle could be a long-term cost saving as well.

Another way to cut back on CO2 is to cut down on the number of trips that you do. This might mean having a larger van so that you can transport more, or it might mean delaying the delivery of goods so that you can bulk deliver with future deliveries.

There are also apps available that allow you to calculate shorter routes, and this can also help reduce costs and the time you waste delivering goods.

Solar energy and heat pumps

Just before COP26, the UK government announced grants to promote the use of heat pumps. This is something worth considering.

There are two main types of heat pumps, both of which allow your offices, reception areas, canteens and kitchen facilities to be heated at a much lower cost - while protecting the planet.

Solar panels, combined with battery storage can also help reduce ongoing electrical costs. With the rise in gas, electricity and oil costs during 2021, The justification for these more sustainable solutions is stronger now than ever before (as well as our top priority of caring for the planet).

Be different!

A lot of what we have talked about you have probably heard on the news and in various other media, but what can you do to take sustainability to the next level?

There are many innovative solutions available that could help you be more planet-friendly and it’s important to keep on innovating. We’d like to leave you with one more, possibly controversial thought...

Many unhealthy foods include ingredients such as sugar that make them easier to store and cheaper to use, but they also have an impact on the planet. With growing obesity levels and other health-related conditions, this puts a strain on healthcare services.

From ambulance visits to medication and other practices, these all increase CO2 emissions further. Could serving and promoting healthy food be a great way to indirectly reduce the amount of emissions into the atmosphere? The impact might not seem directly obvious but as you can see from the above explanation, it will make a difference.

COP26 - Ways to Save the Planet

Planet saving summary

There are many things that could be done to make the world more sustainable and if you can make only a small difference, this adds up collectively. One of the most important steps in this direction is reducing carbon dioxide emissions by eating healthily and improving the way we do things.

What’s your plan for helping save the planet - Let us know by speaking to one of our catering consultants?