Spotlight on sustainability at lunch! show, 19-20 September

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As some of foodservice’s biggest consumers of single-use packaging and disposables, coffee shop and food-to-go operators have been making huge strides to reduce their environmental impact.  The sector still has a long way to go and much more to do, but there’s a raft of success stories to share. 

At this month’s lunch! trade show (taking place on 19-20 September at ExCeL London), Ollie Rosevear, head of environment at Costa Coffee – the UK’s largest coffee shop brand, will be doing just that.  He’s one of a stellar set of guest speakers confirmed for the highly anticipated Sustainability Panel on opening day. 

Martyn Clover, head of food at Tortilla, Jim Winship, director of The British Sandwich & Food To Go Association, and (host) Martin Kersh, chairman of the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) complete the illustrious line-up. 

Costa Coffee made headlines last year following its announcement to commit to recycling the same volume of cups as it puts onto the market (up to 500 million takeaway coffee cups a year by 2020).  In June this year it signed up to the UK government’s pledge to help halve food waste by 2030.  And looking ahead, over the next 12 months, it will continue its ‘focus on reducing packaging in store and developing more sustainable stores’ says Mr Rosevear.  He’ll be talking more about that (and their work with BioBean and the EcoPod programme) at the show, plus giving his take on how the sector can meet net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Together the Sustainability Panel will examine the wider environmental considerations that can help food-to-go businesses be more sustainable – such as tackling food waste and increasing the redistribution of food, reducing single-use plastic consumption, reducing energy and water consumption, more recycling and reusing (packaging, uniforms, furniture etc), looking to alternative food sources, and encouraging behavioural change. 

Head to Keynote Theatre 2 – Coffee Shop Keynotes at 1.30pm (Thursday 19 September) to find out more. 

Making your business greener
Many of the show’s other speakers, including bosses and senior execs from Caffè Nero, Greggs, Sodexo, FCB Coffee, GAIL’s Bakery, Crussh, Wayne’s Coffee, Chilango, and Pure, have also been sharing examples (via the show’s popular Q&A series[1]) of what their businesses are doing to be even more sustainable. 

Will Stratton-Morris, CEO of Caffè Nero UK: We are committed to removing unnecessary packaging wherever possible.  A lot of our new food innovation and range include fresh, unpackaged food for customers to eat in and take out.  We are also focused on how we can reduce the number of paper cups in our business.  We incentivise our customers to use reusable cups with double reward stamps, and we’ve replaced paper cups with glassware at our free water stations.  In the last year we’ve removed over six million paper cups from our business.  We also segregate all our cups in store and financially support the Valpak scheme, which sees brands overpay waste service providers to ensure paper cups reach the proper recycling facilities.

Hannah Squirrell, customer director at Greggs: The ‘Blue Planet effect’ has driven customer awareness of the environmental impact of their consumption choices to a whole new level.  We are proud to support national environmental initiatives, including Surfers Against Sewage Beach and River Clean Series, and are committed to doing our bit to protect the health of the planet.  Plastic has become a key focus and we have responded by testing replacements for single use plastics in our shops.  Following successful trials, these are currently being rolled out across our entire estate.  Once complete, this will remove over 300 tonnes of plastic from our supply chain each year.   

Marta Pogroszewska, MD of GAIL’s Bakery:  We are restless in our pursuit of solutions for food waste and for sustainable packaging.  We are proud to partner with over 40 local charities to make sure any leftover food goes to people in our local communities.

Nicola Morris, MD – corporate Services at Sodexo: Within our food business, we have a few key focuses: reducing food waste, providing more sustainable diets and more plant-based diets and building a more diverse, ethical and sustainable supply chain.  We are also very focused on packaging.  Some of our targets are as follows: By 2020, 70% of waste will be recycled or reused, rising to 90% by 2025.  By 2020, 60% of all sites will reduce food waste rising to 100% by 2025.  [And] we have pledged to increase our SME spend to £200m by 2025.

Barny Clevely, MD of FCB Coffee: Compostable packaging throughout our hot drinks range, encouraging Bring your own cup, electric van delivery within M25, and general reduction in packaging.

Helen Harrison, brand director at Crussh – Fit Food & Juice Bars: We’re currently working on new in-store recycling schemes, we’ve introduced compostable cutlery, and we’re working on new solutions for coffee cups, as well as numerous other food lines…it’s a huge workstream and every NPD line that we now bring in must launch in a more sustainable packaging format than the product that’s de-listing.  

Packaging and waste solutions [are] a hugely complex area and consumers can be very quick to jump on brands because they see plastic in their stores, for example.  Sometimes they don’t realise that we’re trying our best to find better solutions, but the solutions aren’t necessarily out there yet, or some of the more ‘sustainable’ solutions aren’t actually any better for the environment long term.

Geoffrey Hunter, head of food at Pure: We have recently reviewed the amount of packaging we use in our business with the aim to reduce, reuse or recycle our packaging. This has involved working on moving much of the packaging used in store to be made using recycled material.  As an example, a large portion of plastic we now use is made from rPET.

Martyn Clover, head of food at Tortilla: As well as continuing to look at packaging solutions and recycling options, I am looking at smarter ways of working in the kitchen to reduce food waste, giving the guys the tools to forecast prep levels more accurately.

Katie Lister, marketing director at Chilango: One of biggest surprises joining Chilango was how many great initiatives we have quietly running in the background.  We work with First Mile Recycling to ensure the waste in our restaurants is disposed of in a way that generates energy for the national grid and food waste is sent for anaerobic digestion.  But we haven’t told anyone yet!  We will continue to keep developing partnerships and efficiencies to make Chilango a more sustainable restaurant company – and will start telling our guests these compelling stories!

Peter Mayley, business manager at independent sandwich bar La Baguetterie: We are constantly reviewing our packaging items (although as everything is made to order, we use very little) and we have recently replaced all our lighting with LED lights, which has significantly reduced our electricity usage.  New, more efficient display fridges have also helped.  Next is reviewing the aircon and cooling (we have no heating in the shop – just lots of cooking!).

Adnan Karim, UK managing director at Wayne’s Coffee: Sustainability is a key part of our offering.  We have PLA cups, use straws made of corn starch and introduce cups made from grass for Christmas.  We’re working on recycling more of our waste and are always on the lookout for a more sustainable Fika.

lunch! Speaker Q&As
lunch!’s full Q&A series (featuring many of the aforementioned speakers and more) is available here: www.lunchshow.co.uk/speaker-qas.

Eco innovations at lunch!

This year’s 400 exhibitors will be offering eco innovations galore.  Aside from more sustainable food and drink across the show floor, there’s energy-saving equipment and a choice of recyclable and compostable packaging options for food-to-go operators and retailers.  See lunch!’s online exhibitor list for more details: www.lunchshow.co.uk/visiting/2019-exhibitor-list

For cooking and refrigeration, check out: Welbilt UK’s Convotherm mini, which has a 48% footprint reduction vs a tradition 6 1/1GN combi as well as 38% power reduction and 60% power consumption cold start up in steam mode; Roller Grill’s Vitro-Speed Grill, which cuts heating times and power usage; the small-footprint Scraegg Pro unit from Scraegg UK Distribution, which prepares a fluffy scrambled egg meal in just 15 seconds; and Pastorfrigor GB’s Genova Panorama MC and Genova ULF integral multidecks.  The cabinets (one is glass door, the other open) benefit from low energy LED and fans and run on the natural refrigerant R290, which has virtually no global warming potential.

To manage food waste, there’s Enterpack’s new composting machine, which uses special microorganisms to break down the food and turn it into nutrient rich compost in 24 hours.  Their new Compostapack range also includes compostable trays made from wood pulp, with a lining made of potato and corn starch, and compostable, cellulose lidding film derived from trees.

Other eco packaging concepts to look out for include: Sabert Europe’s new BePulp Compostable Meal Box to Go; Coveris’ new Pack Positive range, which includes plastic-free sandwich and wrap packs; Enviroware’s new range of paper cutlery; BioPak UK’s plant-based sugarcane takeaway containers, bowls, plates and produce trays; 4 Aces’ Planet Range, including PLA paper and PLA plastic cups;  and Rapid Action Packaging (RAP)’s new Precious Planet foodtrays, made with board produced from agricultural waste (primarily the leaves and stems left behind after harvest), and cellulose film from wood pulp.

It’s a Wrap are also back at the show promoting custom-printed, natural greaseproof papers, which are biodegradable and compostable.

ButterflyCup’s ISLA Duo cups, launched earlier this year, are made with a newly developed waterproof paperboard.  100% plastic free, it is fully recyclable along with cardboard and newspaper (with no need for segregation). 

For reusable alternatives, there’s huskup, pokito, and Ecocoffee Cup.  The latter is created with natural fibres made from bamboo waste material sourced from chopstick production, and is available in five sizes and over 100 designs.  Plus, new this year, is Berrington Spring Water’s Aluminium Refill Water Bottle.  Initially launched exclusively with itsu in June, in the first few months it has tripled sales projections.

Free trade registration
lunch! returns to ExCeL London on 19-20 September. To register free in advance, please visit www.lunchshow.co.uk and quote priority code LU22 (https://eventdata.uk/Forms/Default.aspx?FormRef=Lun99Visitor&PageNo=20&TrackingCode=LU22).