1st Restaurant Menu to Show Carbon Footprints

The first restaurant chain to show carbon footprints of its menu items, Otarian, just opened its first store in New York.


The first restaurant chain in the world to show the carbon footprint of its menu items, believe it or not, is not McDonald’s. It is vegetarian restaurant chain Otarian. Otarian debuted this innovative menu at its first restaurant opening last week in New York.

In the next few months, Otarian is planning to open another restaurant in New York and two more in London.

“The carbon footprint assessment for each item on the menu was undertaken by UK-based carbon consultancy Sustain and food sustainability consultancy Eat England, in line with the UK government’s PAS 2050 carbon footprint specification,” Business Green reports.

These organizations have looked at the lifecycle emissions of each item on the menu. That includes manufacturing, packing, transporting, cooking and disposing of the food.

Dr Jean-Yves Cherruault, environmental accounting manager at Sustain, says that you can expect more of this in the restaurant industry as more and more people (and restaurants) are showing concern about the carbon footprint of food.

“The work we have been doing for Otarian is very relevant, given the ongoing debate about low-carbon food choices,” he said. “The carbon footprint assessment was instrumental in encouraging engagement with suppliers and identifying ways of reducing greenhouse gases from the menu. This hopefully marks the start of a new way of doing things for the restaurant industry.”

The Otarian isn’t missing a step in trying to generate customer loyalty. With regard to its “Carbon Karma Credits”, Otarian writes, “We have a great loyalty card that rewards all our customers for helping us to save the planet. Come in store and pick up a card and start saving immediately.”

In a similar manner to this move in the restaurant business, several major food companies and retailers have started putting or have pledged to soon put carbon footprint labels on their food packages as well. European supermarket giant Tesco is one such company that has pledged to eventually do this on all of its Tesco-branded products.

Of course, a restaurant serious enough about environmental issues to include the carbon footprint of its dishes on the menu (when nobody else is) is doing more than that. On Otarian’s “Our Restaurants” page you can view the image at the topic of this article with 10 pop-out bubbles that illuminate super green and cool building, furniture and packaging features of the restaurants.

Image Credit: Otarian, courtesy of Nyla Saleh

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