Carbon Foodprint? Nope, not a typo. It’s how those of us in the industry need to start talking about our role in climate change. While the exact number is difficult to pin down, estimates indicate that as much as 25% of your carbon footprint comes from the greenhouse gases released from the agriculture to grow crops, raising animals for slaughter or milk/egg production, transportation to move food around, power to process, cook, store, and haul away trash/decomposition, recycling, and compost from food and drink. Whew.
By now you’ve heard about the ways we can help reduce carbon foodprint: with plant-based options, by using upcycled ingredients, and by removing from products ingredients that cause harm to the environment and packaging that doesn’t decompose. It’s not an easy task, but it’s a part of many companies’ stated ESG goals. But carbon foodprint encompasses so much more than plant-based.
Food waste is another area we all can address, by identifying and harvesting waste streams, or simply optimizing procurement and production processes to avoid waste in the first place.
We’re pleased to see animal-free menu items at QSRs, as well as fine-dining restaurants including Michelin 3-starred Eleven Madison Park in NYC, along with other high-end restaurants across the world. We call it plant-based from the top down and bottom up. When some of the future supply chain technologies (precision fermentation and meat cultivation) are scaled, there will be even more sustainable foods available to address carbon foodprint with deliciousness: the only way you can appeal to the masses.
Veg-forward cooking at these restaurants shows just how good animal-free foods can be by making vegetables the star of the show. A mind-blowing experience with Ivan Ramen’s 100% plant-based ramen soup kit stopped us dead in our tracks. We emailed them just to confirm it was vegan. It was almost too good to be true. Highlighting “vegetarian fat,” roasted tomato, enoki mushrooms, soy sauce, and fresh greens, this restaurant proves animal-free craveability is within reach!
Happy to talk on the phone if you'd like to know more! Barb Stuckey & Jaime Reeves