IT'S SEVEN oclock in the morning and staff are preparing the kitchens for the hungry breakfast crowd. The grill goes on ready for a hard mornings work and wont be shut down until well past midday. Ovens, hobs, dishwashers, fridges and extractors will all be used and will cost the client hundreds or even thousands of pounds for electricity and gas. This is the high-energy life of contract catering.
According to a study by Ricardo-AEA for the Carbon Trust and DEFRA (the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs) all this activity adds up to a whopping £292m a year being spent on energy for contract catering. Thats about 18p a meal. The resulting carbon footprint is pretty hefty as well, at 1.32m tonnes annually.
That is an estimate, with AEA having assessed just four sites. Yet the spread is a fair reflection of the sector a business site, a hospital, a school and a Ministry of Defence unit. And, critically, this is the first time that such a thorough assessment of energy use in commercial kitchens has been carried out. Detailed readings from energy meters over four-week periods were combined with observation days to provide a warts-and-all breakdown of energy use on the sites run by Elior, Sodexo, BaxterStorey, Caterlink and ARAMARK.
The conclusion? Significant opportunities for energy efficiency and hence carbon savings exist in the contract catering sector, the report reads.
So what are the savings and where are the big wins? Find out in january's Footprint, out on January 18th.