Foodservice Footprint Claims2 Azzurri Group lowers GHG emissions intensity ~10% amidst restaurant growth   Innovation Marketplace

Azzurri Group lowers GHG emissions intensity ~10% amidst restaurant growth  

Azzurri Group, operator of ASK Italian, Zizzi and Coco di Mama, has launched its third annual Sustainable Dining Report.

During FY23, the company delivered a strong financial performance, opened additional restaurants and expanded its brands’ retail offerings. Amidst this period of growth, Azzurri Group achieved a reduction in carbon emissions, both in absolute terms and an even greater intensity reduction of 9.7% (tCO2e/ £1m turnover). The reduction in absolute emissions was primarily driven by strategic developments in the supply chain (targeting scope 3 emissions). 

The company’s circular food waste initiative – a first-of-its-kind for the UK hospitality sector – contributed to a significant improvement in waste management. The award-winning circularity initiative, in partnership with Bio Collectors, collects restaurant food waste in London and converts this into biogas and fertiliser to support wheat growth. The wheat is harvested by ADM Milling to make flour that’s used in 200 ASK Italian and Zizzi restaurants – creating a traceable, closed loop supply chain.

Azzurri achieved its target of using 100% widely recyclable takeaway packaging across its ASK Italian and Zizzi brands, resulting in new purchasing guidelines for buyers and suppliers. The company has transitioned takeaway pasta bowls from recyclable plastic to paper-based packaging – eliminating 48 tonnes of plastic from its supply chain every year. By redesigning takeaway pizza boxes, the company also cut over 145,000mof cardboard – equivalent to 16 football pitches.  

The Azzurri Group also improved food distribution, cutting over 140,000 food miles. ASK Italian and Zizzi cut 75,000 food miles by partnering with Best Food, while Coco di Mama optimised its delivery strategy, saving 66,000 food miles. 

Each of Azzurri’s brands made significant contributions to local communities, donating over £120,650 to support important charities. Coco di Mama continued its collaboration with the Felix Project, and in 2023, partnered with Olio to redistribute surplus food to those most in need and further reduce waste. Last year, Coco donated 10,344kg of edible food, the equivalent to 23,861 meals or 146,951 car miles off the road. 

In 2023, the company committed to ensuring all restaurant refurbishments and new openings are consistent with SKA building standards, a rigorous third party verified assessment aiming to promote environmental best practices within building fitouts. Zizzi in Leeds and Coco di Mama in Reading achieved SKA Gold Certification this year, bringing the total to three sites with further scheduled for the coming year. Improvements made at Zizzi’s Leeds branch lowered its carbon footprint by reducing energy usage by 31% and diverting 100% of waste materials away from landfill. 

Stephen Holmes, Chief Executive Officer of Azzurri Group, commented: “The business made strong progress in 2023, measurably reducing our carbon intensity and absolute emissions while continuing to expand the restaurant portfolio. We’ve demonstrated our commitment to tackling food waste – one of the industry’s most challenging problems – by further enhancing our redistribution strategy to ensure food surpluses are supplied to those most in need. We’ve also worked hard to improve the circularity of our brands, launching our closed-loop food waste system which is an industry first. I am delighted with our accomplishments in 2023, and efforts are already well underway to ensure we go even further in the future. We remain fully committed to becoming net-zero across our operations and supply chains by 2040, to reduce food waste by 15% by 2030, and to ensure that all out-of-restaurant packaging is widely recyclable by 2025.”