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The Carbon Footprint: from the farm to the table

The carbon footprint is made up of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with all the activities of a person or other entity (for example, block, building, corporation, country, etc.). It includes direct emissions, such as those that result from the burning of fossil fuels in manufacturing, heating, and transportation, as well as the emissions needed to produce the electricity associated with the goods and services consumed. In addition, the carbon footprint concept also often includes emissions of other greenhouse gases, such as methane, nitrous oxide, or chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and is often expressed as a measure of weight, such as tons of CO2 or CO2 equivalent. CO2 per year.

Where does the restaurant industry come into this?

According to the UN, "the food sector accounts for about 30% of the world's total energy consumption and about 22% of total greenhouse gas emissions." While the food sector has had greater environmental progress than the restaurant industry, the more restaurants focus on reducing their carbon footprint, the greater the impact in reducing these numbers.

The current restoration model is far from sustainable. Waste is a serious problem. In Mexico alone in 2021, 931 million tons of food was wasted, where 26% came from food service, and of which 75% is avoidable and could have been eaten. In total, 42,000 kilos of perfectly usable food are wasted per minute, not including waste (egg shells, banana shells, etc.) but all the usable mass that ends up in the trash. This food waste contributes enormously to carbon emissions (if it were a nation, it would be the third largest carbon emitter after the US and China), but that's not where the waste ends.

Regarding the water footprint left by the loss and waste of food, there is talk that in Mexico the amount of water that is used to produce food that is not going to be consumed is equivalent to supplying 100% of the Mexican population with water. for 2.4 years.

But waste is only one part of the larger problem. Emissions occur at every stage of the supply chain, from harvest to finished product. When it comes to sourcing ingredients, you have to consider the products themselves (are they grown using sustainable methods?), as well as the energy consumed to get them from their source to your restaurant. Then you have to think about the emissions that come from the restaurant itself thanks to its use of electricity and gas, as well as all the single-use plastic we're so used to seeing in the kitchen ( cling film, Styrofoam). And finally, how do you get your food to your customers? Is there delivery involved, what kind of packaging or even tableware do you use?

Carbon neutral restaurants

It all adds up and it may seem like an unsolvable problem, all these emissions must be inherent to the industry. But that may no longer be the case. We are now seeing more and more restaurants moving towards full carbon neutrality.

For example, Sweden's fastest growing burger chain, Bastard Burgers, increased sales of climate-smart meals from 7% to 28% in 2019 through its 'Earth Friendly Streetfood' concept.

Similarly, the MAX Burgers chain has managed to measure 100% of greenhouse gas emissions, this means measuring emissions from farmers' land to the hands of their diners. With its integration of "Climate Positive Burgers", MAX has been able to capture at least 110% of its emissions.

Be part of the change

While integrating these sustainability concepts into your kitchen may seem complicated at first, you are not alone in the change, and gaining this information can help you and your consumers make better, environmentally conscious choices.

Are you a company that would like to learn more about how to measure your carbon footprint? Get in touch with us to help you bring sustainability to the table.


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