UK catering industry could save £250m a year through energy efficiency

The UK catering industry could save more than £250m in energy costs every year, through optimising and improving kitchen equipment and tailoring menu options, according to analysis from the Carbon Trust.

The catering operations of the UK catering industry account for almost 2% of all business and public sector emissions in the UK.

More than 8 billion meals are served every year across 260,000 sites, costing £770m a year on energy, and resulting in 3.9 million tonnes of carbon.

The Carbon Trust has estimated that by taking a more strategic approach to catering operations, a saving of more than 30% is achievable, saving more than £250m in energy costs and more than a million tonnes of carbon every year.

However, the analysis also shows that a short term approach to the cost of capital equipment could cause energy costs to rise by a further £154m a year by 2020.

The Carbon Trust associate director of business advice Dominic Burbridge said: “The catering industry is acutely sensitive to volatility across its entire cost base with inflation outstripping RPI over the last 10 years. A great way to tackle this is to improve energy efficiency in kitchens, an area that is not currently regulated.

“We’ve demonstrated how the catering industry could save more than 3 pence per meal served, which presents a significant opportunity for industry leaders who take a proactive approach to enhance the economic and environmental sustainability of their businesses.”

In order to help the sector save energy, the Carbon Trust has launched a Cut Cost & Carbon Calculator, designed specifically for anyone involved in catering equipment manufacture and supply or the design, specification and operation of a catering site.

The Carbon Trust says the calculator will enable users to understand how to enhance profitability and reduce environmental impact through a range of activities including behavioural change, kitchen design, menu complexity and equipment selection.

Conor McGlone

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