How much?! The Canteen in Stokes Croft adds carbon footprint to its menu

The lowest carbon footprint item on the menu is sharing plate of beetroot and carrot pakora with coriander yoghurt

A restaurant in Stokes Croft is the first in Britain to add carbon emissions to its menu - to show the environmental cost of every meal.

The Canteen wants to help their customers stay informed about the global impact of their food choices. Each meal listed on its menu feature its carbon footprint as well as its ingredients and price.

The footprint includes the distance which ingredients travelled, seasonality of ingredients and emissions during production.

Currently the meal with the highest carbon footprint is vegan dish ‘Miso and harissa aubergine, za’atar brittle, courgette baba ganoush & tabbouleh’. It costs £8.50 and measures 674g CO2.

The lowest on the menu is sharing plate of beetroot and carrot pakora with coriander yoghurt - measuring just 16g CO2.

It all started when The Canteen were approached by UK’s leading vegan charity, Viva!

The menu at The Canteen

Viva! asked if it wanted be part of an initiative that sees the carbon footprint of meals calculated and evident to see on its menu.

Anna Blightman, Canteen marketing manager, explained: “Our head chef, Matt, went through the whole menu - and it was then sent off to MyEmissions - a food carbon footprint calculator.

“We were all waiting in anticipation, and the results were a complete eye-opener.

“The reception has been incredible and really positive, with many customers asking, ‘why doesn’t everyone do this!’”

The menu reveals striking comparisons between different dishes, stating at the top: “All dishes feature the total carbon emissions generated, per serving, in grams.

“For reference, eating just one UK produced beef burger can generate as much as 3,050 g CO2 - the equivalent of driving the average UK car up to 10 miles - 10 times the amount of its vegan alternative.”

Junior sous chef Penny Jane Hartley: 'We reuse everything here - from lemons to aquafaba - there is no waste’

Next to the carbon footprint calculation of each dish, is also a letter categorising which brand the meal falls under.

Another inspiration for the sustainable initiative was sparked back in April, when the UK government decided English restaurants with more than 250 employees must display calorie information for each meal on their menus.

The new menu, that will run from October to February, is being executed by the chefs currently, and the team say they are “excited” to learn more about the footprint of their meal choices.

Penny, a chef at the restaurant, said: “We reuse everything here - from lemons to aquafaba - there is no waste.

“This is an incredibly important step given the climate crisis we are in and our initiative, from a local small business, is something I’m really proud to be a part of.”