The NEC Group is taking the next step on its sustainability journey by trialling carbon labelling at its NEC and ICC venues, led by in-house caterer Amadeus.
Introduced with the help of food technology and sustainability specialists Foodsteps, the trial is assessing the carbon impacts of 1,800 recipes sold at the venues, labelling dishes as low carbon footprint on its menus.
The project comes in collaboration with a study conducted by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), who funded the project, and the University of Birmingham (UOB) on food sustainability labelling and behaviour change.
Developed alongside scientists and academics at the University of Cambridge, Foodsteps offers a cloud-based platform, as well as labelling capability and QR codes. On the platform, food providers can upload recipes and view the sustainability impact of each ingredient. It can be used to monitor targets, develop new recipes and improve a menu or product’s sustainability.
The NEC venue is using its digital screens to direct customers towards this sustainability information, allowing event goers the capability to easily check the impact of each dish. The new labels will feature in the caterer’s Edge restaurants at the NEC.
Ian Taylor, Managing Director for Conventions & Exhibitions at NEC Group, said: “We have a strong focus on sustainability and we’re delighted to introduce this carbon labelling trial at the NEC and ICC.
“We know from customer feedback that our visitors love the quality of food and service at both venues, so we’re excited that our carbon labels will help them make low carbon choices and reduce their carbon footprint.”
Marc Frankl, Food and Beverage Director for NEC Group caterer Amadeus, said: “Innovation is front and centre in our work across the live events industry. We’ve been looking at carbon labelling for a while, but it is something we were able to implement quicker thanks to the input of WMCA. We want to empower our visitors to make more sustainable choices and educate themselves about the carbon impact of food and this is a great step towards that.
“We’re thrilled to be able to introduce this with the help of Foodsteps’ technology and we’re really interested to see how this labelling will affect customer’s behaviours. We’re constantly looking at ways to review and improve our sustainability methods and it’s something we’d love to roll out across our wider venue portfolio.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Given the collective efforts underway in our region to tackle the climate emergency and to achieve our #WM2041 net zero goal, I’m pleased to learn that caterers are taking the step to carbon label their menus to help spectators make informed decisions when choosing what to eat.
“I wish them all the best with placing this bold sustainability commitment at the heart of future events. I look forward to seeing how this initiative develops going forward as it has the potential to form an innovative part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games legacy”.