ENERGY COSTS for UK caterers could rise by 20% to over £920m by 2020, so why are they wasting so much?
The Carbon Trust has revealed that caterers could save 3p per meal on energy as it launches a Cut Costs and Carbon Calculator (first reported in Footprint April, p20). The trust’s latest analysis shows that more than a quarter of a billion pounds in energy savings are possible every year. “This industry is acutely sensitive to volatility across its entire cost base with inflation outstripping RPI over the last 10 years,” says Dominic Burbridge, the trust’s associate director for business advice. “A great way to tackle this is to improve energy efficiency in kitchens, an area that is not currently regulated.”
Over 8bn meals are served every year across 260,000 sites, costing £770m a year on energy and resulting in 3.9m tonnes of carbon. By taking a more strategic approach to catering operations the trust’s analysis estimates that a saving of over 30% (£250m and 1m tonnes of carbon) is achievable. This could more than offset any expected rises in energy costs.
Given the costs and that catering operations account for almost 2% of all business and public-sector emissions in the UK, the trust has developed the new carbon calculator.
With support from DEFRA, CESA, CEDA, FSCI and the BHA, the tool has been designed specifically for those involved in catering equipment manufacture and supply or the design, specification and operation of a catering site. It will enable users to fully understand how to enhance profitability and reduce environmental impact through activities including behavioural change, kitchen design, menu complexity and equipment selection.
As Burbridge told Footprint in April: “For operators, it’ll help them optimise their kitchens and affect behaviour change. For designers it’ll provide third-party, independent validation of equipment [energy consumption] figures. And for manufacturers it’ll help drive innovation in line with the Ecodesign Directive.”
The CESA chairman, Nick Oryino, says the calculator has the potential to “radically change” the way in which capital and operating expenditure costs are judged and it will help ensure that more efficient equipment is manufactured, specified and installed.
Some of the savings will require investment, while others will involve behavioural change. Currently, there are few incentives for on-site catering staff to use equipment efficiently, but experts have suggested that clients will soon be keeping a much closer eye on energy use in their kitchens (see Footprint January on line).
£770m - energy costs per year for UK catering
£154m - expected rise in energy costs by 2020
£250m - savings possible in UK commercial kitchens