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Are ‘Climate-Friendly’ Options on Restaurant Menus Coming Soon?

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News image: Are the 'climate-friendly' options on restaurant menus coming soon?By Alan Moses HealthDay Reporter

Thursday, May 12, 2022 (Health Day News)

Is there a way to make it Eating out More eco-friendly? A team of German researchers thinks the answer is a resounding yes.

They want Restaurant To offer menus that clearly label environmental impact – or “Carbon footprint“- Specific food options.

“In a broad sense, we have asked how restaurant owners can contribute to the fight against it Climate crisis With some “soft measurements” that do not require a change in their food offerings, “explained study author Benedict Seger, a postdoctoral research scientist in the Department of Psychology at Julius Maximilian University of Wজrzburg.

For example, a salad with beef would be labeled “high emissions.” This means that food produces a higher carbon footprint – probably between 2 or even 3 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) – and therefore less environmentally friendly.

Alternatively, a vegan spaghetti dish would be labeled “low emissions.” So it will be more green, so it can produce only 130 grams of CO2.

This information can do much to influence diners’ restaurant preferences.

Among them StudyInvestigators combined a total of nine menus, which Seger described as “a wide range of restaurant types” that included American-style burgers as well as Chinese, Italian and Indian dishes.

Menus were offered to just over 250 volunteer dinners in an online simulation Eating out Experience, meaning no actual eating was involved.

In some cases the menus come with a twist: the default foods can be more or less green to consumers with the addition (or elimination) of ingredients such as beef, chicken or falafel.

The result, Seger said, is a big environmental win.

“On average,” he noted, “the default ‘switch’ reduced carbon emissions by 300 grams of CO2 per dish. And the labels reduced the average by 200 grams of CO2 per dish.”

Seger acknowledges that the choices customers may make when offering a similar menu in a real-world setting may vary, as “there will be many more factors that influence the decision, including the presence of other guests and the sight and smell of what they have. Order.” Said.

“Nevertheless, these clear results are quite encouraging,” Seger said. The results “show that many people are ready to consider the climate crisis in their daily decisions, even in situations where they just want to have a good time and enjoy their food.”

Seger noted that in order for this to work, Restaurant “They need to take advantage and redesign their menus.”

Lona Sandon is the Clinical Program Director Nutrition With the School of Health Professionals at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He suggested that as a practical matter the green menu method could be combined with mixed results.

“This will definitely make for a great marketing tool for some restaurants,” Sandon said. “I can see that some people will jump right in with it.”

And among consumers, “there will be some who think it’s great and use it to their liking,” he added.

At the same time, however, Sandon noted that “others will ignore it just as they ignore calorie and fat information.” Even with both the restaurant and the consumer on board, the carbon footprint of a particular food can be determined exactly how it is.

“The food system is very complex,” Sandon said. “And the inputs that go into the production and processing of a food item vary greatly and where it comes from and will depend on the farmer’s own practice and ability to limit the greenhouse. Gas Production. “

For example, “Growing zucchini versus beef has been shown to use less resources and result in less methane.” Gas On the surface, “he said.

“However, all the resources that go into transporting vegetables to a packing and processing plant and the steps involved in transportation – boat, plane, train or truck – finished goods – fresh, frozen, cut or prewashed – end up on your plate at the restaurant,” Sandon said. .

In addition to redesigning a menu, Sandon suggests that there are other ways to eat in an environmentally responsible manner.

“Personally, I’d be more interested to know what a restaurant is doing to reduce waste management and overuse of resources than the number of carbon footprints on a menu,” he said.

And, Sandon added, consumers already have plenty of active options, starting with Walking Go to the restaurant rather than drive; Selecting small portions of food; Avoid excessive ordering, and always try to bring leftovers home.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between “part” and “service”.
See answer

The results appear in the May 11 issue PLOS Climate.

More info

There is more to sustainable eating Harvard School of Public Health.

Source: Benedict T. Seger, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Department of Psychology, Julius Maximilian University, W্জrzburg, Germany; Lona Sandon, PhD, RDN, LD, Program Director and Associate Professor, Clinical Department NutritionSchool of Health Professions, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; PLOS ClimateMay 11, 2022

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