The Lowdown: E.Mission and the 'Carbon Forkprint’

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

E.Mission and the Carbon ‘Forkprint’

Related tags: Restaurant, Menu, Carbon footprint

Carbon consultancy firm E.Mission wants restaurants to use its carbon menu analysis and labelling service in a bid to help diners make informed decisions.

Another ploy to shame diners into adopting a plant-based diet?
It may come across like that, but there is method behind this apparent madness.

Go on…
E.Mission describes itself as a ‘carbon consultancy firm for the hospitality industry’. Late last year it surveyed 500 people, and found that as many as three in four adults would prefer to eat in a restaurant that offers information on the carbon-impact of the meals on its menus. The presumption is that this would be help diners make more informed decisions over what they eat, which seems appropriate given that (according to the same survey) 78% of diners say they’re keen to reduce their environmental impact by making more informed choices when eating out.

Given the various factors that would need to be considered, this still seems like a flawed plan
Certain elements may require some clarity. For example, we don’t know whether the restaurant itself would be a contributing factor; if a meal is prepared in is solar-powered kitchen, does that lessen its carbon impact? And imagine the headache this would cause to a restaurant that regularly changes its menu. Yet with more than 90% of respondents to the survey saying they believe large restaurant chains and caterers have a responsibility to do all they can to help the environment, and the rising tide of environmental activism we’re seeing not just here in the UK but around the world, it’s certainly an initiative worth taking note of.

What should we expect then… if a specific dish has a high carbon impact will there be a little symbol of a burning globe next to it?
Not quite. From the example E.Mission has provided (see below), only dishes that have a reduced carbon impact will be highlighted. So if a meal has a lower footprint (or ‘Forkprint’ as E.Mission is calling it), it will be signified by a small symbol of the world.

Example-Menu-ft-E

Calorie counts. Food miles. Allergens. Menus sure are getting complicated, won’t this just exacerbate the problem?
Perhaps, but it’s not like E.Mission are asking restaurants to note down the number of ingredients that were industrially farmed, how much carbon dioxide was emitted by transporting them, the amount of single-use plastics used to keep them fresh, and the number of watts it took to cook the finished meal… that would just be silly.

Yeah, and then there would be no room to put the price
Wouldn’t that be a shame.

Related topics: Trends & Reports

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