THE TOP stories of 2012, from Starbucks’ tax travails to rising energy bills and the “greenest Olympics ever”.
With the mince pies sitting heavily around the waistline and the influence of festive parties still coursing through the veins, health and diets are rarely far from the headlines in the new year. And so it is in 2012, with a report by the Vegetarian Society urging caterers to get take advantage of a £700 m meat- free market. Accor, the hotel group, then revealed exclusively to Footprint that it is working on “smarter diets” which could include more vegetarian options.
Top Story: Ethical labels no longer hot stuff. New research among the biggest corporate brands suggests eco-labels are past their sell-by date.
Fast Facts: As of February 2012, genetically modified (GM) crops are grown by 16.7m farmers in 29 countries over 160m hectares of land.
March marks the first anniversary of the Public Health Responsibility Deal and Which?, the consumer group, isn’t happy with progress. Big brands such as Pizza Express and Strada are singled out for criticism with not enough high-street chains having introduced calorie labelling. Research later in the year by Allegra shows that labelling isn’t necessarily what consumers want though.
Top Story: Fergus Henderson the guru of offal, opens his doors and heart to Footprint. “Why don’t we hug our butchers more often?”, he asks as he explains his love for meat and the reasons why we need to make better use of livestock.
Fast Facts: As if to mock January’s research on eco-labels, the Fairtrade Foundation releases figures showing sales of its products reached £1.32bn in 2011, up 12% from 2010. A Footprint Forum also tackled the issues.
The second annual Footprint Awards brings together the great and the good of the sector, with more entries, more awards and, perhaps, more alcohol than 2011. The awards cover progress at all levels of the foodservice supply chain across a range of sustainability issues. Critically, they offer recognition, which hasn’t always been the case in this industry. Meanwhile there are a few raised eyebrows after Jamie Oliver’s attack on school meals. The government bears the brunt of it but, as Cucina Restaurants and others point out, what about acknowledgement of the huge strides some have made since “Jamie’s School Dinners” in 2005?
Top Story: Accor gives Footprint exclusive access to the most comprehensive environmental impact assessment of a global hotel chain ever completed. A new carbon standard is also launched for hotels.
Fast Facts: With bees in decline, boffins at the University of Reading have calculated that it would cost £18bn a year to hand- pollinate crops if the critters disappeared altogether.
Reaction to the new voluntary “Hospitality and Foodservice Agreement” on waste begins to filter in.
After the agreement’s pubication in late June, 69 companies sign up, including Sodexo, BaxterStorey, Compass, Domino’s Pizza and Greggs. The agreement and targets come after months of research and workshops with the sector, including a Footprint Roundtable. The government also publishes its “Green Food Project”, which suggests foodservice has a “major role” to play in influencing consumer choice and shifting people to more sustainable diets. The Olympics, billed as “the greenest ever”, could have been greener, according to a WWF scorecard.
Top Story: Caterers and coffee chains are dragged into the national debate about milk prices paid to farmers. Jamie Oliver backs better prices but days later is criticised for the sourcing policy at some of his restaurants.
Fast Facts: The word “sustainability” was found 676 times in Footprint magazines, or 82.28 times per issue. Are we all using this word too muchor is it just that people have a different understanding of its meaning?
One month consumers want more information, the next they are asking for labels to be cut. However, it’s a case of quality over quantity, according to a new report by the Food Service Director. In fact, foodservice companies will be required to provide double the amount of data on issues such as emissions and nutrition in the next five years. The first ever FootprintChannel debate is aired. Waste is the topic of discussion and the panellists suggest that a culture change is needed in the UK’s commercial kitchens to prevent waste mountains piling up. Good news, then, that the voluntary agreement has been “more popular than expected” with over 100 companies signed up by October. New food standards are indtroduced for hospitals.
Top Story: The Marine Stewardship Council produces a “fish map” showing the public where where they can buy sustainable fish. It includes schools, restaurants and chippies that are using MSC-certified fish.
Fast Facts: Four times as many businesses and households could be at risk from flooding in the next 20 years. the heavens open and farmers struggle with harvests.
Energy is rarely out of the news as the government is pinning its hopes on a “dash for gas”, including that from the controversial fracking technique, rather than renewables. The major energy makes economic sense but in foodservice there are unique challenges, not least for contract caterers with clients footing the bills. The Gram “Green Paper” report reveals that many in foodservice want to be green but are struggling to take action.
Top Story: Details of the tax affairs of Starbucks are exposed in a Reuters report. Other corporates are investigated and challenged too, among the Cafe Nero and Amazon. there is nothing illegal about their tax avoidance tactics but debate rages about whether it’s ethical.
Fast Facts: Whitbread ranks in the top 10 for carbon reporting as a Footprint Forum proposes a new era for sustainability reporting.