Last month I posted about the potential of seaweed being an environmental solution for neutralizing carbon. Last week, I read an article on BBC Future about a UK restaurant chain providing carbon footprint labeling on their menu. Ridiculous! Sounds like greenwashing to me.
My company specializes in marketing in the food-away-from-home channel which I rarely post about. However, today I cannot resist but post my point of view about menu carbon footprint labeling. As a food futurist I am aware the food choices consumers make have a major impact on the climate, especially as it relates to greenhouse gas emissions. More importantly, I support plant forward diets, more vegetables and pulses since they are beneficial to both personal and planetary health. What I do not understand: Are consumers really going to become committed to making food-away-from-home food choices based on the environment? How reliable will the metrics be for a future menu carbon footprint labeling system? Menu calculations would need to take into account the emissions of growing all the ingredients, as well as those generated transporting, storing and the energy utilized for cooking. Note: What about factoring in the carbon footprints associated with how the restaurant’s guests and employees get to the unit – do they walk?
Sounds like menu greenwashing to me. A marketing ploy to get consumers thinking the chain restaurant is an environmentally concerned entity.
In my opinion, you are right to be very sceptical about ‘environmental’ motives. But an opposite view could be that merely by talking about it (and thereby raising awareness) will do some good, or it will at least help to keep the discussion going in the ight direction.
You’ve not mentioned the restaurant – can you share the name?
Spot on! In my opinion, raising awareness is one thing, but putting out information that is not accurate and can’t be verified for making informed comparative decisions doesn’t help the consumer or the cause… though it may give the restaurant a false halo.