ESS Supports Clients With Sustainability Goals

16 May 2024

Scott Freeman, Culinary Director for ESS, is featured in the last ever print edition of The Caterer, speaking about how Defence foodservice providers can help clients to be more sustainable.

He covered a variety of initiatives that we have introduced in collaboration with our clients to support their sustainability goals while working towards our own Climate Net Zero target.

These are summarised below:

Last year we introduced over 70 new plant-forward options where at least 30% of the meat is replaced with a plant-based alternative while total protein is maintained or increased. As well as having a lower carbon footprint, the meals are healthier, with increased fibre and lower fat and saturated fat.

We’ve worked with supply partner OGGS® to introduce a new range of plant-based desserts. 60% of a sponge cake’s carbon emissions come from eggs and OGGS® Aquafaba produces 72% less CO2e than eggs, so the impact is significant.

We’ve partnered with UK tech company Foodsteps and are using its carbon labelling tools to analyse the impact of our menus. This has highlighted some great results from the work we’ve already done, and we’re increasingly able to share ESG data like this with our clients.

We’ve created a Soil Association certified organic garden at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom where we’re growing ingredients for use in our menus, and we’ve built an allotment at Brompton Barracks where we grow food for our chefs and the site population. We’ve also got 20+ smaller-scale food growing initiatives running in our contracts. These projects allow us to model future scenarios and improve engagement and knowledge around sourcing food locally.

We’re partnering with Olio to donate pre-packed products and fresh fruit and vegetables that are close to their use by date, for redistribution in the local community. To date, we’ve saved 39,275 food items and fed 1,553 households.  

"We see putting sustainability at the heart of everything we do as an opportunity. We’re part of the wider Defence ecosystem – I’m proud of how our chefs are embracing the challenge, inspired by what we’ve already achieved and looking forward to what we can do next.