A vital aspect of any event, the food that you serve has the potential to be one of the most impactful lasting impressions that your delegates take away. And with sustainability so prominent in the public consciousness, reducing the amount of carbon can easily be applied to catering. H&E North investigates.
Keep it local
Transport has the largest reliance on fossil fuels of any sector and in 2020 domestic transport was responsible for emitting 99 MtCO2e (million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) in the
UK according to a Department of Transport study. It’s unsurprising then, that reducing how far your ingredients have to travel can reduce your event’s carbon footprint. Buying local produce not only reduces carbon emissions, but also means you’re using the freshest ingredients available, and allows you to support local businesses all in one.
To everything there is a season Serving food made from ingredients which are currently in season reduces greenhouse gas emissions without the need for carbon heavy artificial heating or lighting needed to produce crops out of season. In fact, the total emissions of crops produced out of season in
the UK is higher than the same product grown naturally in season abroad and transported to the UK.
Plant-based is best
According to data resource Our World in Data, a global average of 110lb (50kg) of greenhouse gases are released per 3.5oz of protein. Not only that, but farming emissions also include methane, which is up to 34 times more damaging to the environment over 100 years than CO2, according to the UN. Beef has the highest carbon footprint at an average of 49.89 kg per 100g of protein. The second highest, lamb, is roughly half that amount. The highest impact crop, grains, produce just 2.7 kg of emissions per 100g, so reducing the amount of meat in your menu can make a vast difference.
Waste not, want not
Over four tonnes of food end up as landfill each year, equivalent to £2,000 worth of food deliveries per household each year. FORO, or the fear of running out, is a huge concern for most event organisers, and regularly causes over- ordering on food so that every item can be available to every delegate. In reality, most delegates would be happy to accept a reduced selection of options in the name of helping out the planet. Informing delegates about this possibility from the get-go reduces frustration and most are likely to understand and even praise the drive toward sustainability.