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Meal Analyser

09 Nov 2021
Understanding your carbon footprint

With COP26 highlighting the essential need for all individuals, organisations and countries to work towards a net zero carbon outcome over the next 20-30 years we can expect the government to increase pressure on everyone to look at ways to achieve this.

They will expect services funded by the state to lead on these issues and to report on progress and achievements, we can already see this through the plans of the National Food Strategy.  A net zero strategy will be the core of every tender including those for the school food service.

LACA have teamed up with the University of Edinburgh Business School, LM3 and ASSIST FM to produce a carbon calculator (Meal Analyser) specifically aimed at the school food sector.  The assumptions underlying the calculator are taken from detailed analysis of 5 school food services across England and Scotland and a report has been published that shows the outcomes of this analysis.  Some key findings included:

  • If the average carbon footprint is taken for a school food service an area roughly the size of Wales would have to be planted with rain forest to offset the carbon impact...every year!
  • Ensuring waste food does not go to landfill is vital to managing carbon output
  • Red meat from ruminants has the greatest impact on carbon footprint of any single food type
  • Increased use of raw fruit and vegetables lowers your carbon footprint

The tool also measures the impact of the school food service on the local economy dependent on where the produce is sourced from, but also how many local people the service employs.  In one of the examples used the service generated £2.19 for the local economy for every £1 spent.

 If you are a LACA member you can view the presentation of the report here.

You can connect to the Meal Analyser here (only accessible to LACA members, you will need to be logged in to reach page)

It is vital that as many LACA members use this tool as possible if we are to get a true picture of the impact of the service on the countries carbon output we need LACA members to upload their figures.  The more data we have the better the benchmarking will be, but also the better you will be able to measure your services performance against the national average.  

This information and service is vital for anyone running or tendering for a school food catering service, you simply will not be able to win or retain a service contract without evidence of your carbon credentials.

If you have any queries about the Menu Analyser please email us and we will get back to you.