Foodservice Footprint steer2 Carbon labelling leads to break from steak for Wahaca Foodservice News and Information  news-email email-news

Carbon labelling leads to break from steak for Wahaca

Wahaca has announced significant changes to its menu on the back of its carbon labelling scheme. 

Menus at the high street chain are now 50% veg-based and all steak dishes – including the steak & cheese taco, one of the most popular – have been removed. Only two beef dishes remain.

“We wanted to look at a way of reducing the amount of meat dishes further, while still offering truly tasty options for those that still enjoy eating it,” said co-founder Thomasina Miers. “Doing the right thing for the planet is never a simple journey,” she added.

Wahaca’s carbon ratings initiative began in April 2022 when labelling of calories became mandatory.

The Mexican chain worked with Klimato to count the greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) for every dish it serves. A chargrilled steak burrito weighed in at 3.04kgCO2e. Pop chicken in the burrito instead and this drops 78% to 0.67kgCO2e. Go for the sweet potato one and it’s just 0.46kgCO2e.

All the carbon counts are available on Wahaca’s website (here). On menus each dish falls into one of three bands – low, medium or high – which relate to how the dishes compare with the average meal in the UK, which has a footprint of 1.55kgCO2e based on the calculations Klimato has done.

The latest changes are intended to further reduce the environmental impact of the food served, said Wahaca, which hopes to encourage more customers to choose plant-based options rather than go for meat as the default.

Wahaca hasn’t yet been able to prove its labelling scheme has shifted consumer behaviour but follow-up academic research tosee how the labels were received garnered 800 responses (with no incentives to take part). “Thatshows they’re really engaged inthis,” said Carolyn Lum, sustainability manager, in an interview for Footprint’s latest report which looks at how environmental data is greening supply chains and empowering the public to make more sustainable choices.

Wahaca is among a number of foodservice companies to be running carbon or eco-labelling schemes. WSH, Leon, Peach Pubs, Just Eat, Ask Italian and Compass are all running trials too.