Footprint Blog

Shock: UK Government trough not British!

Posted in 1 by foodservicefootprint on August 13, 2009

Footprint has just received a press release from the Countryside Alliance ostensibly wanting to know why all the food in HMG buildings is not of British origin. Under the intriguing title of ‘Is buying British patriotism or practicality’ they come up with a few ‘revelations’ as follows:  

In response to the request for “the proportion of food which was procured by official residences for official functions in the past twelve months and which was domestically produced”, The Cabinet Office (responsible for No.10 Downing Street and Chequers) admitted “There is no information on whether the proportion of food procured in the past twelve months was domestically produced.”

The failure of No. 10 Downing Street to record and monitor the amount of British food being procured for official functions is contrary to Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’s, recent exhortation that if people “want a strong, thriving successful farming industry – if you want to support the industry in Britain – buy British”. 

The findings follow Gordon Brown’s statement last year “Everybody knows that British bacon is best”, despite the Cabinet Office, of which the Prime Minister’s residence and office are an “integral part”, had failed to buy any British bacon in 2007-08.

Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart commented: “The Government needs to practice what they preach. It is time for our government to support the countryside in the most simple of ways – by buying British. There is no excuse for key government residences not being able to tell us how much of the food they are procuring and serving at official functions is British”

Does it really matter whether or not the government records the origin of the food consumed in the collective trough? Surely they should have better things to do. Having said that, I think there’s a pretty strong argument that our governors should be using exclusively British product, where possible, particularly when advising the rest of us to do so for the purpose of soundbites!


The Carbon Trust shows its face in foodservice!

Posted in 1,Comment,Government,News by foodservicefootprint on August 11, 2009


One of our criticisms of the Carbon Trust, for a long time, has been that it is focusing, in the main, only on the biggest of industries – aviation, transport, manufacturing etc and in no shape or form on foodservice. However last Friday a collaboration between Dairy UK and the Carbon Trust was announced and it might signal further assistance to the foodservice industry in the not too distant future.

Dairy UK, the trade body for dairy farmers, announced that it was working with the Carbon Trust to introduce new measures reporting on the carbon footprint of the dairy industry.

The project  is designed to set a single set of guidelines for dairy farmers, processors, wholesalers and retailers to evaluate the industries carbon emissions.

On the same day, Dairy UK also announced that it was set to meet and in many cases exceed a number of environmental targets for 2010.

A survey found that over 45% of dairy producers, has land in official environmental schemes, putting the industry on track to reach its 50% traget by 2010, according to The Guardian. The report goes on to say that nearly half of dairy farmers now have a nutrient management plan designed to help limit methane emissions from cattle in place, while milk processors are on track to meet a target of incorporating 10 per cent recycled plastic in milk bottles by the end of 2010.

As far as Footprint is concerned, this is very welcome news and I hope symbolises that the Carbon Trust might be stepping into foodservice territory in a more serious manner.

Provenance? Take your pick…

Posted in Comment,Food Miles,Provenance by foodservicefootprint on August 11, 2009

Which WayHaving just popped into the supermarket and picked up a pre-packed Flamegrilled Mini Chicken Breast pack which, needless to say, promised rather more than it delivered, I am bemused to read ‘Produce of the EU or Brazil..’ on the label!

I suppose I should be reassured by the addition of  ‘..cooked and packed in the UK for Tesco Stores Ltd.’ Surely in these provenance driven days they can be more accurate than that?! I suppose it’s marginally better than ‘Your guess is as good as mine’….

Nobu in the spotlight again!

Posted in Comment,Foodservice Footprint news,International,News,Sustainable Sourcing by foodservicefootprint on August 5, 2009

Diners were locked out of Nobu last night as the restaurant fell victim to an environmental campaign. Activist Aiden Brown dressed up as a fisherman turned up at the restaurant and utilised a bike lock to chain the doors of Nobu’s Park Lane eaterie. Guests were greeted by a sign reading ‘Gone Fishin’ for Blue Fin Tuna’.

As you know Nobu has come under attack for serving the endangered Blue Fin Tuna, and even under increasing pressure,  merely added a warning on its menu.

Pioneering Farming formula in the Home Counties

A new farming method has arrived in the UK. Thanet Earth covers 18ha (the size of 25 football pitches) and is modelled on a Dutch farming approach. Based on high-intensity horticulture pioneered in the Netherlands, the farm boasts seven reservoirs to catch rain water, has its own power generators, allowing the farm to sell electricity back to the national grid while also producing the heat and Co2 that are beneficial to the plants.

The farm is expected to boost British salad-vegetable production by 15%, growing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

80 million Euros have been invested getting the site fully operational and is not only based on sound environmental logic but also on commercial plausibility. 

Not bad for a farm just outside of London.

Watch out for

Alaska and New Zealand lead the way to sustainable fishing. The British are sadly not quite off the starting blocks!


A study from an international team of scientists shows that a handful of major fisheries across the world have managed to reduce the rate at which fish are exploited, says David Adam, Environment Correspondent at

The analysis is a very welcome reflection of global efforts but one must remain cynical. It shows what can be achieved but the British fishing industry in particular has a long way to go. 

‘The new analysis used catch data as well as stock assessments, scientific trawl surveys, small-scale fishery data and modelling results. It highlighted catch quotas, localised fishing closures and bans on selected fishing gear to allow smaller fish to escape, as measures that help fish stocks recover. Agencies in Alaska and New Zealand have led the world in the fight against overfishing by acting before the situation became critical, says the study, which is published in the journal ‘Science’. Fish abundance is increasing in previously over-fished areas around Iceland, the North-East US shelf, the Newfoundland-Labrador shelf and California. This has benefited species such as American plaice, pollock, haddock and Atlantic Cod’, says The Guardian.

Apparently the North Sea, the Baltic and Celtic-Biscay shelf fisheries are all still declining. In these areas Atlantic cod and herring are still badly affected. Fishermen in Ireland and the North Sea are still catching too many fish. 63% of assessed fish stocks worldwide still require rebuilding, the scientists report.

The article goes on to say the isolated success stories ‘May best be interpreted as large scale restoration experiments that demonstrate opportunities for successfully rebuilding marine resources elsewhere. Many nations in Africa have sold the right to fish in their waters to wealthy developed countries that have exhausted their own stocks, the experts said.’

Dr Ana Parma, one of the Authors of the paper said ‘this is the first exhaustive attempt to assemble the best available data on the status of marine fisheries and trends in exploitation rates, a major breakthrough that has allowed scientists from different backgrounds to reach a consensus about the status of fisheries and actions needed’.

Footprints own conclusion is that this is wonderful news but a terrible shame that British fisheries do not appear to have had a positive impact. One would hope that this will only be a matter of time.

Compass takes action!




courtesy of

courtesy of

Compass Group has decided to follow the advice of the Marine Conservation Society. Sixty-nine species have been removed from menus at thousands of restaurants across the UK and Ireland to protect threatened stock.

The decision has an impact on 6500 outlets and includes a ban on 4 varieties of Skate, 5 Tunas and two types of Plaice.

According to The Guardian, the move means that Atlantic cod from all but a few fisheries will be off the menu while Pacific cod certified by the MSC will stay on it. Alaskan pollock, Pacific salmon also from Alaska, and Dover sole from the Hastings fishery are options that remain.