19 November 2021

The road to Net Zero – Reducing Emissions in Contract Catering

With the climate crisis being more pressing than ever before, contract catering companies have a responsibility to reduce emissions and get on the road to Net Zero. Our Culinary Director, Ryan Holmes, has outlined some key initiatives Eurest has implemented to make a positive impact.

According to a recent UN-backed study, more than a third of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions are generated by food systems and the ways we grow, prepare, package, and consume our food. What’s more, a third of that food ends up as food waste. So much so that if you piled up all the food waste in the world and made it a country, it would have the third biggest carbon footprint after the US and China.

The road to Net Zero

Contract catering companies are in a unique position of influence when it comes to people’s eating habits. We have the opportunity to show how easily we can adopt healthier, more plant-based and environmentally friendly eating habits in our everyday lives. “What’s really important is that we take people on the journey with us, rather than asking them to change their diets overnight” says Ryan.

Championing plant-forward menus

At Eurest, we’re trying to change the way people think about food. That’s why plant-based meals are now at the top of our menus, encouraging people to give them a try and make a move towards a plant-based diet.

With the livestock sector contributing 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions, reducing meat consumption is a hugely effective approach to lowering total emissions. That’s why we’re making 40% of the proteins on our menu plant-based by 2030 and encouraging other contract catering companies to do so too.

“As a chef, it’s a vitally important part of my job to take the carbon footprint of my menus into account, which takes creativity and a lot of commitment” explains Ryan. “If we give people really enticing plant-based options that they know are good for them, because our nutritional criteria around protein and fibre is so clear, then we’re making it easy for them to make a more environmentally friendly choice.”

plant-based contract catering

Leading the way to a greener future

Working hand in hand with our suppliers and growers is essential to achieving our goal of a 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. We use at least 80% British produce on our menus and looking to push that even further.

“Even though we’re a large caterer, we’re still completely committed to serving seasonal British food and putting as few vans on the road as possible – we need to show the industry how achievable this is” says Ryan.

Harnessing creativity

Creativity is a huge factor in becoming greener and has a big part to play in how we plan on reducing our food waste by 50% by 2023. 

“Creativity is key – broccoli stalks can make a nice salad, stir fry, or can be chargrilled for a tasty take on a Caesar salad. Herb stalks and fruit peels should never go to waste, the possibilities are endless” comments Ryan.

Our Forward with Marcus Wareing programme is also helping the next generation of culinary leaders to learn these skills and provides them with an understanding of the realities of the climate crisis and food systems.

Reducing single use plastics

At Eurest, we’re committed to cutting our emissions and minimising our negative impact on the planet, whilst still providing flavourful, mindful, planet-positive food that your workforce will love.

As well as the type of food we eat and the distance it travels to reach us, the way it’s packaged is important too. At Eurest, our ‘Grab and Go’ range is packaged entirely in recycled plastic, and we use jars wherever possible too.

Planet-positive contract catering

Our services aim to empower your company with delicious food, helping employees to be more productive, focussed, and planet-positive. To find out more, simply call us on 03306781609 or email enquiries@eurestfood.co.uk