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Carbon calculator for caterers clocking up success stories

Cool Food Pro is a carbon calculator specially designed for caterers to make meaningful change to their menus, so they can confidently deliver more climate-friendly food.

Calculating the carbon impact of food. Credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya | Pexels

Calculating the carbon impact of food. Credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya | Pexels

The Cool Food Pro project was set up to make catering more sustainable, by supporting caterers to design and deliver climate-smart menus. They have specially designed a web app to help caterers change how they plan menus and source their ingredients to minimise their impact on the environment.

The web app is called Cool Food Pro, and it’s a carbon savings calculator created with and for caterers. It calculates the environmental impact of potential changes to the caterer's current practice, and gives step-by-step advice on where to make improvements. Best of all: it’s free and simple to use.

When caterers sign up, they also get access to a library of resources including sustainable recipes, guides on good practice and communications materials to help share and celebrate the changes.

The Cool Food Pro team say: “Cool Food Pro is an opportunity to discover the impacts your practices are having on your environmental footprint and to be supported to make positive changes. Cool Food Pro sites will be a leading example for others in the catering sector to follow.”

Norse Catering, based in Norfolk and Suffolk, have already used the tool to reduce their carbon impact. They decided to pilot the tool at two schools they cater for in Norfolk, and chose to reduce the meat in their beef bolognese and increase the amount of organic produce used. They now offer organic yoghurt on a daily basis, and the beef they serve is 100% organic.

Norse have committed to swapping 10g beef per portion with a pea-based replacement. When they trialled this menu change at the school, they calculated that they saved 74kg of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, improved the quality of 12,607 litres of water, and reduced the impact on biodiversity. They’re developing the recipe to make sure it has the same nutritional content for the kids and, of course, that it’s delicious!

Craig Neale, Compliance Manager at Norse Catering, says: “The tool is user friendly and easy to navigate. The visual effects of the savings you're making are a real positive and help present the data in a really meaningful way.”

Their chefs, customers, and Business Account Managers have all responded positively to the changes, so Norse now plan to expand the changes across more schools and into care homes too.

Deborah Taylor, Sustainable Catering Project Manager for Cool Food Pro at Soil Association Food for Life says: "Cool Food Pro is a free, easy to use carbon calculator enabling caterers to reduce their environmental impact by making changes to their menus and purchasing. The easy to view CO2 savings supports caterers to understand and share the impact they are making with the food they serve."

Find out more here.

Get involved.


The project has a total budget of €1,579,438, of which €1,089,812 has been financed by the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme.

Published Thursday 12 January 2023

Food for the Planet: Food for the Planet is helping local authorities, businesses and organisations take simple actions to tackle the climate and nature emergency through food.

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