Footprint Blog

Convotherm wins Gulfood Award for best Ecological Initiative

Posted in Equipment,News,Sustainability by foodservicefootprint on March 10, 2010

The new Convotherm EcoCooking mode, which was launched in the UK at Hotelympia, has won the Gulfood Award for the best ecological initiative. Manitowoc launched their new eco friendly Convotherm ovens at this years Hotelympia with great success, and this award is a testament to the significant energy savings that can now be achieved.

The new EcoCooking Mode has been designed to reduce energy usage by up to 25% and will be added as a standard to all models from 2010. With increased energy prices continuing to burden commercial kitchens, the idea of saving 25% on energy consumption is a highly attractive prospect and an something that should not be ignored.

The operation system is quite simple as it is both easy and brilliant; the integrated Advanced Closed Systems keeps almost all the heat inside the chamber and does not allow it to escape while cooking. This new feature uses pre-programmed pulses of energy to maintain the required temperature, rather than keeping the power going throughout cooking. The food itself continues to cook by using the residual heat to prolong cooking and achieve the perfect result, even in the shortest amount of time.

This new feature not only saves energy, but actually improves the quality of many cooked food products such as roast meats, making them much more tender and reducing waste loss.



Posted in Equipment,Food Miles,Foodservice Footprint news,Logistics,Sustainability by foodservicefootprint on February 21, 2010

Michelle Hanson and Max Harris at the launch
On the subject of transport savings, Footprint attended the launch of an electric vehicle initiative on Friday.

A joint venture between foodservice operators Bunzl Catering Supplies and Sodexo sees the launch of the CO2 emissions-free and noise-free vehicle as part of continued sustainable distribution initiatives developed by the two businesses. Seeing it run, one could whistfully imagine the difference to noise levels if all vehicles were similar.

The 7.5 tonne light-goods vehicle, which will make its first official delivery on March 1st 2010, will have a range of up to 130 miles and a top speed of around 50mph. Drivers will be able to ‘refuel’ by recharging the vehicle at any standard three-phase socket. A day’s usage will cost ten per cent of the cost of fuel used by a conventional vehicle coveringthe same distance.

The vehicle was officially launched by Jim Haywood, Director of Environment Impact at Business in the Community (BITC), alongside Michelle Hanson, Commercial Director Sodexo UK and Ireland, and Max Harris, Operations & Regional Sales Director at Bunzl Catering Supplies. Both Sodexo and Bunzl are members of the BITC’s Mayday Network on Climate Change, the UK’s largest coalition of businesses that have committed to take action on climate change.

Envirowise Business Thrift Shift report gives insight

Almost three-quarters (73%) of businesses surveyed have developed a more detailed knowledge of their spending and resource use as a result of the recession, according to The Envirowise Business Thrift Shift Report.

This includes everything from investment in raw materials, transport and energy, to staffing, equipment and professional services.

For the hotel and catering industry, reduction of water and energy use was the biggest area of cut back (75%), with a large number also minimising spend on raw materials and consumables. And this ‘thrift shift’ is set to continue when the recovery comes, with 79% of respondents citing a greater emphasis on energy efficiency in particular as a possible legacy of the recession.

Sodexo launches Better Tomorrow Plan!

Sodexo announces the launch of its ‘Better Tomorrow Plan’, which aims to consolidate Sodexo’s sustainability performance and provide a framework to measure the impact of the company’s actions worldwide.

Sodexo’s strategy is built around three pillars:

  • ‘We are’ – which embraces values and ethics
  • ‘We do’ – which sets out 14 commitments to action on sustainability challenges
  • ‘We engage’ – which recognises the dialogue required to translate commitments into action

The 14 key commitments are spread across health, nutrition and wellness, local communities and the environment. Progress will be monitored with milestone assessments currently anticipated in 2012, 2015 and 2020.

For each of its commitments, Sodexo is developing phased plans and indicators to measure the degree of implementation and impact across the business.

Apart from announcements on Nutrition, Health, Wellness as well as Local Communities, Environment is key in this announcement.

With 33,900 sites in 80 countries, Sodexo is committed to implementing practices and policies that minimise its environmental impacts. Commitments in this area include:

  • ensuring compliance with a Global Sustainable Supply Chain Code of Conduct in all the countries where it operates by 2015.
  • sourcing local, seasonal or sustainably grown products in all the countries where it operates by 2015.
  • sourcing sustainable fish and seafood in all the countries where it operates by 2015.
  • sourcing and promoting sustainable equipment and supplies in all the countries where it operates by 2020.
  • reducing the company’s carbon footprint in all the countries where it operates and at client sites by 2020.
  • reducing its water footprint in all the countries where it operates and at client sites by 2020.
  • reducing organic waste in all the countries where it operates and at client sites by 2015 and supporting initiatives to recover organic waste.
  • reducing non-organic waste in all the countries where it operates and at client sites by 2015 and supporting initiatives to recover non-organic waste.

Thomas Jelley, corporate citizenship manager for Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “Our mission is to improve the quality of life for the people we serve and contribute to the economic, social and environmental development of the areas where we operate. Through this ten-year sustainable development strategy, we are committing to continuous improvement through a challenging but robust and structured approach.”

First ‘Foodservice’ Footprint Forum on sustainability calls on Government to do more!

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Footprint Forum 8th of October 2009

The inaugural Footprint Forum, sponsored by Sodexo on HMS Belfast in London, brought together the great and the good of the foodservice industry to discuss the burning issue of the day – how to achieve sustainability throughout the industry.

A panel of industry experts debated a wide range of concerns including waste, procurement, the confusion in some areas between organic and sustainable, fishing, equipment and energy, transport and incentives offered by the Carbon Trust to buy new greener kit.

Introducing the Forum, Footprint Media Group CEO Nick Fenwicke-Clennell said “the objective of Footprint Forum is to create an environment where the decision makers and influencers of this industry can come together to debate the issues, exchange ideas and benefit from the knowledge of others as we drive towards a more sustainable future for foodservice.”

The keynote address by chef Cyrus Todiwala MBE, concentrated on the huge problem of waste produced by the hospitality industry and how best to combat it. Todiwala’s multiple award winning restaurant, Café Spice Namasté is a showcase for sustainable practice. He is a highly vocal environmental campaigner and chairs the Waste Committee for London.

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Cyrus Todiwala speaking at Footprint Forum HMS Belfast 8th October 2009

Todiwala’s controversial take on the problem of waste is that collectors should pay operators to take it away, as happens in India. This would, said Cyrus, encourage people to segregate and conserve for recycling and save operators a fortune into the bargain. “In India newspapers, empty bottles, used clothes, pots and pans, old wood, scrap iron/steel, wood, aluminium, cardboard and cartons are all paid for by the waste collectors. People are very careful about how they store their valuable rubbish – scrap buyers come to your doorstep asking for rubbish to buy or exchange for new goods. I firmly believe that if India were a thousand miles closer to the UK I would become a millionaire just selling scrap from the UK,” he said. “The system we use in the UK is ridiculous and is the reason why there is no incentive for people to dispose of their useful rubbish effectively.

Restaurants and hotels pay hefty amounts to have their rubbish cleared away. Those of us who are environmentally conscious end up paying much, much more, thereby eliminating any incentive. The collectors, however, make massive profits since they sell on our rubbish by the tonnage and charge us for collecting it as well. “Waste disposal operators contracted by councils and other authorities should be made competitive. They should be made to collect free – if not actually to buy the rubbish. That way everyone would make sure they put their rubbish out as carefully as they can and not mix and pile it randomly. “Foodservice has to lead the way. Ideally, in five years time, if we all act collectively we will get manufacturers, producers and collectors all listening and doing exactly what we wish them to do which is to help us to create a zero waste community of end users,” said Todiwala.

He also went on to deplore the ‘unjoined up thinking’ afflicting many schemes designed to push sustainability. “There is a failure to communicate between initiatives and this leads to duplication of effort. There are several streams of Government funding going into several projects, the problem is no one knows about the various initiatives and often the organisations involved within those initiatives themselves don’t know what is going on and end up duplicating work someone else is doing.”

As Todiwala finished to applause from the delegates, the panel of experts chaired by Peter Backman of Horizons assembled to take questions from the audience. An expert on the structure and dynamics of the foodservice sector, and its supply chain in the UK and across Europe, Backman regularly speaks at conferences in North America and Europe.


Footprint Forum Panel HMS Belfast 8th of October 2009

Responding to questions from the floor the general consensus of opinion from the panel was that although a lot has been done and improvement is ongoing it is just scratching the surface, not just on the problem of waste but also addressing other sustainable issue such as fishing, incentives for procurement both of energy efficient equipment and food and drink. The panel also echoed Todiwala’s concerns that there is no ‘joined up thinking’ from Government and there is a need for more incentives for operators to buy into sustainability.

Glenn Roberts of refrigeration giant Gram said: “The problem we see at Gram is that although the Government, in the form of the Carbon Trust, is doing good work promoting sustainability in the media it needs to understand ‘Catering plc’ better. The Carbon Trust’s Energy Technology List (ETL) lists 18,000 products in all that are eligible for Government tax breaks because they are ‘green’. In catering, only refrigeration figures on the list. Bearing in mind that refrigeration accounts for a mere 6 per cent of energy consumption in kitchens this is not enough, more equipment needs to be on the list. But first we need to know how energy is used in commercial kitchens. There needs to be a benchmark for prime cooking and other equipment. The catering Equipment Manufacturers Association (CESA) is currently lobbying the Carbon Trust and it is clear the Trust doesn’t understand the foodservice sector. As for manufacturers, we must listen to the market place. It is vital that we do this. Sustainable products are more expensive and very difficult to sell in the current climate.” Gram performed a survey of the industry two years ago and is now conducting another one to show the amount of change since then. The Gram Green Paper offers insight and statistical information on a range of areas such as operators’ interpretation of what green means to their business, as well as demonstrating personal green initiatives currently in place. It also highlights perceptions on cost/saving implications as well as which sectors could be doing more to ensure foodservice is an environmentally responsible industry. “The findings showed people are desperate to do something decisive. The market place can be bothered: they just want to be show how,” he said. “However, we have found there is a gap between what people say they want and what they do. The driving force is for the procurement department to save money. Joined up thinking doesn’t happen. If it costs £1400 to replace a refrigerator with an energy efficient version, they will go for the £900 option even though it uses 5-6 times more energy and will struggle to maintain temperature. It is very hard to get people to take that on board. After all, they may well be thinking that they may not be in business next year so why pay the extra?” he said. Thomas Jelly of Sodexo suggested that large companies that commit to sustainability should be ranked in a league table. He said that incentives in the form of tax reductions would get finance departments thinking hard and would get them behind the initiative.

Ian Booth, Technical Director of fresh food supplier Reynolds said: “In the public sector local government should set objectives such as the percentage of sustainability in procurement to be achieved whether it be in equipment, food – everything. The Government must do this to make it work. It will be interesting to see where that will go. Europe is telling Government to look at procurement.”

Mike Berthet, Director of Fish & Seafood, M&J Seafoods said: “It is disappointing that the Government has not set the pace. I raised this question with Hilary Benn recently at an open forum. The Government just hasn’t taken the lead. There should be two fish dishes on school menus per week and the fish should be from a sustainable source.” He had some good news to impart, however, telling delegates of positive initiatives taken by the fishing industry. One example he cited was that of seven boats out of Scotland now have video cameras rigged to the trawl so they can see what fish is being discarded. “One guy has a camera on the underwater trawl bar – if he sees they are about to catch cod when they are over quota they can simply reel in and start again. This is also invaluable, say, if they start fishing in an area with too many juvenile cod. They can pack up and move to another area. The area with the juvenile cod can then be closed to fishing for a month to allow stocks to grow.” Berthet also told delegates that we have the raw materials for producing fish feed for sustainable aqua culture literally on our doorsteps. “Ragworm can be farmed from any old detritus. There are billions of tonnes of that in London alone of that in London alone,” he said.

Ian Booth made the valuable point that there is confusion about ‘organic’ and ‘sustainable’ products with some people thinking they are the same thing: a comment that was greeted with agreement from the panel and the delegates.

Thomas Jelley said: “Sustainability is not about one product being local or one recyclable. We have to take in other individual components such as transport and put it all together seamlessly.”

Heidi Easby of Brakes warned that working out a long term strategy takes time and industry employees have their part to play, saying that it sometimes pays to start from basics. “To really try to change the ethos of people in business it is important not to just concentrate on mileage. It is possible to have day to day impact. At Brakes we have no bins at desks so staff have to walk to recycle points to chuck stuff away. This has reduced waste by 40 per cent. Big schemes may require financing but small things like this work well.”

“Smaller things persuade the industry to take responsibility. Why not ask staff what they want to do?” responded Jelley.

“What we do in the crunch to offset against a lower income will work in better times. This is a good time to make changes and when things get better everybody is used to it,” said Todiwala.

“Ultimately, the Government must set out standards to look at the bigger picture. Sustainability is ultimately win-win for everybody,” concluded Ian Booth, who seemed to echo the thoughts of most people at the event.

Charles Miers, Managing Director of Footprint Media Group reflected: “It is desperately sad that the industry, friend or foe, haven’t cooperated more. Seeing all these influencers under one roof, nevermind talking to each other is unheard of – we changed that today! Let’s hope that this might set the precedence going forward.”

Join the Debate! Footprint Forum: HMS Belfast, October 8th

FOOTPRINT FORUMEarth on a plate LR

On 8th October the Footprint Forum is launched on HMS Belfast, kindly sponsored by sodexo. 

Few business decisions are made today without considering their impact on a sustainable environment. In UK foodservice this is hardly surprising when it is estimated that the industry uses 21.6 million kWh of energy, adds 19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and creates over 3 million tonnes of food waste, all in the course of a calendar year!

From its inception, the objective of Footprint was to provide the foodservice sector with a single reference point to learn about and debate the environmental issues that were impacting the industry. Today, as we have become more enlightened on this issue, the story is arguably reversed and has become how the industry is impacting the environment and how we can reduce this! Irrespective, we wanted to create a transparency to the issues involved and to enable operators to access the debate using the medium of their choice; in essence, to become the ‘go to’ place for information on this subject.

Foodservice Footprint is still the only industry specific publication dedicated to the subject and with the blog attracting increasing numbers of visitors, we are now entering the physical interaction arena with the launch of the Footprint Forum.

The objective of the Footprint Forum is to bring together the industry’s key decision makers and opinion formers; those with the power to influence, be it from a corporate, media or political stand point, to initiate cultural change.

Members will hail from all stages of the foodservice supply chain and others, such as those in the food waste conversion arena, whose businesses have a direct relationship with the industry. Footprint Forum is not a conference, it is not a lecture, but a Forum/Symposium, which is entirely interactive and will allow members to air their opinions, uncover the paradoxes and hypocrisies, and be seen within the right environment. We are simply encouraging transparency, debate and cooperation to find the right balance between commercial and environmental realities. We would also like to think that, as Footprint Forum develops, we will be able to generate a consensus that will offer members the chance to play their part in improving the industry and provide a platform for exercising leverage, as a body, on government.

The first meeting takes place on October 8th, aboard the WWII battleship, HMS Belfast, moored on the Thames near London Bridge. This will open with a keynote address by Cyrus Todiwala on Food Waste and its implications. This is a subject particularly relevant to the foodservice industry, as one can see from the statistic above, and one that Cyrus has been highly vocal about for a few years now. When we read that produce farmers, growing for supermarkets, forecast on having to dispose of 30% of their crop for failing one criteria or another, and then hear that 30% of that accepted is then thrown away unsold, we realize the staggering levels of wastage going on.

Cyrus’s address and discussion period will be followed Footprint Panel, a Question Time style Q&A session with a panel of senior industry experts lending their knowledge on a range of environmental issues. The panel is being chaired by Peter Backman of Horizons, who will act as compere, timekeeper and referee, and will offer delegates a first hand, practical insight into the realities of some of the key talking points of the moment.

The first Footprint Forum will finish with a presentation on organic wine by Dan Senior of Corney & Barrow, tantalizingly entitled Green Whites and Reds, which will take us all into the world of organic winemaking and expound on the theories of biodynamics. It will, of course, be necessary to sample some of Dan’s delightful wines during a closer networking session.

The Forum will come together for a General Meeting four times a year at various venues. In addition, we will be forming Special Interest Groups (SIG’s) which will exclusively focus on separate areas such as Equipment, Distribution, Contract Catering, Manufacturing etc, and will be encouraged to meet separately. There will be a summer and Christmas party and a Forum member will have the added advantage of having exclusive access to the full membership, together with research and information made available only to the Footprint Forum membership.

For information about joining Footprint Forum, please contact

Nando’s set’s an example

Posted in Comment,Equipment,Foodservice Footprint news,International,News,Sustainability by foodservicefootprint on June 27, 2009


In Tony Naylors post on The Guardian’s website ‘Nando’s – Green or Greenwash’, he offers us an insight into Nando’s Junction 27 branch, near Leeds. This particular Nando’s site collects oil from other Nando’s sites and converts this into bio-fuels which drive a micro generator at the site. Amongst other eco-drives, the recycled cooking oil scheme has reduced carbon emissions by 90% compared to the use of mineral fuels. Yet, as Naylor argues, the awe of this project quickly fades on closer inspection. In a year this particular Nando’s site produce 70,000 litres of waste oil. This can be recycled to generate 250,000 KWh of electricity. According to Naylor Nando’s would not comment how long this would power the site for, nor would they elaborate on why the waste oil generator is only providing 50% of the sites electricity.

Although Mr. Naylor says he tries not to be a cynic, he does think that Nando’s efforts could be interpreted as a gimmick when one compares these efforts to ‘genuine’ eco pioneers behind Konstram, the Duke of Cambridge, Acorn House or the Water House.

To us this highlights the misunderstanding towards the hospitality industry. One cannot compare a multiple-estate business such as Nando’s to the top end Acorn House set-up. These are juxtaposed business models that have very different objectives. Tony Naylor focuses on the integrity of sourcing sustainably but little do the public know about the amount of equipment that goes into multiple estate businesses such as Nando’s and the amount of energy used! Therefore, we think it is wrong to label Nando’s efforts as a possible ‘green wash’. Schemes such as this set an example to the industry and should be supported wholeheartedly. Pioneers, such as Arthur Potts Dawson, are motivated by the integrity of the green projects, whereas Nando’s have launched a pilot scheme that will either work or not but in the meantime should not be shot down in flames.


Posted in Comment,Equipment,Food Miles,Foodservice Footprint news,Government,International by foodservicefootprint on April 6, 2009



I enjoyed the press launch of the Crustastun, courtesy of Messrs. Brakes today. It was enlightening but I couldn’t help but think that it opens up a huge moral debate of how crustacean have up until now been prepared for consumption.

As far as I can discern, the hospitality industry, not to mention manufacturers and processors, will have a moral obligation to buy this equipment. A tell tale sign of how seriously the industry regards animal welfare, will be the quantity of units sold over the coming year.

My personal opinion is that restaurants will consider it yet another piece of equipment that needs servicing – sad but true. I am hoping not, as some of the facts are shocking.

Full details will be available during the course of the week.

For more details please view

UK policy mechanisms deterring investment in environmental technologies

Posted in Comment,Equipment,Food Miles,Government,Logistics,Produce,Provenance,Sustainability by foodservicefootprint on April 5, 2009

The concept of climate change is not new.  The fundamental notion on which the idea is based, the greenhouse effect, was first discovered in 1827.  Despite our long-standing knowledge of the potential climate change problem, the need for climate change mitigation is more important than ever, not only for our own future but also for the benefit of future generations. 

The fact that we are already beginning to see examples of the effect of climate change on our natural environment today reinforces the urgency and magnitude of the problem.  Some examples of the effects we have already noticed include a reduction in arctic sea ice, rising sea levels, melting of glaciers and permafrost and droughts in sub-Saharan Africa leading to conflict.

Environmental challenges are a spur to innovation and potentially the solution to the economic downturn. However, UK has to develop policies to stay in the forefront.

Mr Sippitt proclaims that the issue underpinning the climate change problem is energy:

“It is the root cause that has resulted in today’s circumstances due to our reliance on fossil fuels since the industrial revolution and it is vital to turn to renewable energy as much as possible and invest in low-carbon technologies.  However, our experiences through managing The EIC Environmental Investment Network, unambiguously suggest that current climate change policy in the context of environmental technologies is ineffective, both domestically here in the UK as well as at the European level.”

The clean technology sector seems to be experiencing a global funding gap, especially in the midst of the current recession and this problem seems to be particularly acute in the UK.  Firms are finding inadequate responses from government in providing the necessary support needed for commercialisation and dissemination of their technologies.  This is an especially hard pill to swallow as many countries around the world begin to implement significant economic stimuli simultaneously geared to kick start the environmental revolution. 

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that $22 trillion will need to be invested in energy supply infrastructure between 2006 and 2030 ($900 billion annually); this figure does not include necessary expenditures on demand-side technology improvements which are estimated to be in the trillions of dollars. 

However, Mr Sippitt attributes the main factor deterring investors as the lack of stable long term policy mechanisms that enable them to reduce the risk of their investment.  “As this is a relatively nascent sector, investors are aware that the time frame for the potential return on investment may be longer than other nascent sectors have been in the past (e.g. IT).  Although not always the case, certain aspects of the sector may require significant amounts of initial investment.  Currently, most policy mechanisms implemented in the UKand the EU consider the short to medium term time frame.  The long term policy requirement from investors goes hand in hand with the long term requirements for effective climate change mitigation, especially considering that the effects of climate change will continue even if all emissions were to cease today.”

Mr Sippitt identified examples such as the $80-85 billion proposed by the USA and $38 billion in Korea to clarify this comparison.  “The Environmental Audit Committee has just reported that the UK’s green stimulus package at £535 million is meagre, especially considering that only approximately £100 million of the package is actually newly pledged money – the rest is money that was simply brought forward from future budgets he quoted from the report.” 

The addition of fresh capital to aid commercialisation of new environmental technologies will not only aid in mitigating climate change but also aid in mitigating the recession and securing a future in the sector for the UK by allowing the UK’s natural advantages and skills to be exploited (e.g. Wave/tidal and CCS).  Inaction in the past resulted in industries such as wind and photovoltaics being successfully developed in other countries (e.g. Solar in Germany and wind in Denmark, Spain and Germany), who are now market leaders in these fields.

According to the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), the Global market in low carbon and environmental goods and services sector is worth £3 trillion as of March 2009. In comparison, the UK market was worth £106.5 billion in 2007/8, representing a market share of 3.5%. An increased share of even 0.1% would be worth £3 billion to the UK.

The UK is ideally placed to export expertise and technology within the environmental sector. The global economy is seeking world leaders to develop the environmental technology sectors and overcome the impact of climate change for this and future generations. The time to act is now and politicians are key to driving the investment for our entrepreneurs to shine.


For more information please visit 

Michael Sippitt was speaking to The Consular Association in Wales on “The global and geopolitical issues of climate change.”


The EIC Environmental Investment Network is an investment network designed to facilitate the raising of finance for the commercialisation of environmental technologies and services, specifically for start-up companies, SMEs and academic spin-outs, which have traditionally struggled to attract investment.

Established by leading commercial law firm Clarkslegal LLP and The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) in 2007, the EIN has received over £300 million of potential investment opportunities covering a range of sectors including renewable energy, automotive, water and waste management. 




Very, Very interesting