Official caterers for Glasgow Conference tout success of their low carbon food strategy, noting that 60 per cent of all sales were plant-based

Meat-free dishes accounted for more than half the food sold at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, the official caterers have revealed.

Levy UK+I announced last week that 60 per cent of the 125,000 food items sold over the 12-day climate conference were vegetarian or plant-based, with 80 per cent of all the ingredients sourced from Scotland, 15 per cent from the UK, and the majority of suppliers located within 100 miles of Glasgow.

Moreover, every dish sold was accompanied by its carbon footprint information, in a bid to help attendees make an “informed choice”, the company said.

The caterer said the food strategy, which was specially designed to reduce the environmental impact of the Summit, “set a clear example” of how to provide a low-carbon and diverse menu that minimised environmental impacts. 

Kevin Watson, business director at Levy UK +I, said the firm would now build on the best practices established at COP26 for other events.

“We were delighted to showcase and work with so many local Scottish suppliers, enabling us to provide great tasting, nutritious and seasonally sourced food,” he said. “The team has delivered so many great sustainable initiatives which we will use as a catalyst for change to drive our Levy climate promise to be net zero by 2027.”

Levy UK+I said the reduced meat offering had enabled it to provide these dishes “within the context of a responsible and sustainable approach”. More than 11,000 portions of ‘sustainable’ fish and chips were sold, it noted, making it one of the most popular dishes. Beef featured just twice on the 60-dish retail menu and accounted for only three per cent of sales, it added.

Watson said it had been “exhilarating” to see the firm’s plan to deliver a low-carbon menu come to life at COP26. “We worked hard to create environmentally friendly menus that were accessible to all,” he said. “As we all take steps to protect our planet, our sustainable food strategy and plant-forward approach will shape menus of the future.”

The COP26 Climate Summit, which was hosted across multiple venues in Glasgow by the UK government, ended late on Saturday 13 November with the finalisation of the Glasgow Climate Pact.

The announcement comes just a few days after the organisers of the summit confirmed it had clinched an ISO20121 certificate in recognition of its sustainability performance.

In related news, new research has found that men’s diets result in 41 per cent higher emissions that women’s, largely due to men’s increased demand for meat and drinks.

The research, published in the journal Plos One, analysed the emissions linked to more than 3,200 specific food items and examined the diets of 212 British people. It found that animal products were responsible for almost half of the average diet’s greenhouse gas emissions, and that non-vegetarian diets created 59 per cent more emissions than vegetarian diets.

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