Just Eat for Business, a subsidiary of Just Eat Takeaway.com, has embarked on a groundbreaking initiative to introduce carbon labels on meals in a business setting. This innovative program, developed in collaboration with carbon calculations and labelling service provider My Emissions, aims to raise awareness about the carbon footprint associated with food and encourage conscious consumption.
The carbon labels employ a user-friendly system that combines a traffic light color scheme with letter-based grading. An ‘A-grade’ dish, indicating a very low carbon impact, will feature a green label. In contrast, an ‘E-grade’ dish, signifying the highest carbon impact, will be labeled red. These labels will be prominently displayed during the meal ordering process and will also be accessible to customers post-purchase.
The initiative seeks to shed light on the environmental impact of various stages in the food supply chain, from farming and production to transportation and packaging. By providing customers with information about the carbon impact of their meal choices, it is hoped that more individuals will opt for lower-carbon options, ultimately driving positive changes in restaurant menus.
To pilot this project, Just Eat for Business has partnered with 12 independent restaurants located in Greater London. These restaurants will not incur any additional costs as the trial has been funded by Just Eat for Business.
Jaz Rabadia, the Global Head of Responsible Business and Sustainability at JustEatTakeAway.com, highlighted the significance of extending the trial to a business context. She emphasized that this initiative aims to create value for corporate consumers and assist businesses in engaging their employees in sustainability efforts. Rabadia also emphasized that this is just the beginning of their carbon labelling journey, with plans to gather more data in the next phase of the trial to determine future roll-out strategies.
The initial consumer-facing trial in Brighton, which focused on direct sales to individuals, has now concluded, and any extensions or expansions are yet to be confirmed.
During the initial trial phase, most Just Eat users welcomed the labels as they helped them make informed choices aligned with their values of conscious consumption. Feedback from restaurants was also positive, with some expressing willingness to alter recipes to reduce their carbon impact.
This initiative aligns with the growing interest in environmental sustainability and transparency in the food industry. While carbon labelling is currently voluntary for food firms in the UK, there is increasing momentum for standardized environmental labelling across product categories, with food being a priority focus. As part of the Net-Zero Review, Chris Skidmore MP recommended the introduction of environmental labelling on as many product categories as possible by 2025, with the recognition that agriculture’s share of UK emissions could rise to 30% by 2030 without intervention.
The introduction of carbon labels on workplace meals represents a significant step towards promoting sustainability and empowering consumers to make eco-conscious dining choices.