Quorn is to become the first major brand to introduce carbon labelling on its products.
The new labels, aimed at helping consumers understand the environmental impact of their shopping, will start appearing on some products from June and on the entire Quorn range by next year.
From Thursday, the “farm to shop” carbon footprint data, certified by the Carbon Trust, will be available online for Quorn’s 30 best-selling products.
Quorn claims to be the first meat-free food manufacturer to achieve third-party certification of its carbon footprint figures – via the Carbon Trust – which is being integrated into its own food labelling.
It says that in 2018 its products enabled savings of 200,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent compared with meat. The greenhouse gas impact of mycoprotein – the fungi-based protein used in Quorn products – is 90% lower than beef.
The most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet revealed that avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way in which consumers can reduce their environmental impact, with animal agriculture a significant and fast-growing source of global greenhouse gas emissions.
But while Quorn’s products may now be part of a booming industry of meat alternatives – and a key ingredient in Greggs’ new vegan steak bake – that has not stemmed criticism that they are heavily processed and a far cry from natural, plant-based foods.
Peter Harrison, chief executive of Quorn Foods, said: “This is about giving people the information needed to make informed decisions about the food they eat and the effect it has on our planet’s climate – in the same way that nutrition information is clearly labelled to help inform decisions on health.”
Manufacturers are stepping up efforts to give consumers more information about the environmental impact of their products, despite previous attempts ending in failure. The UK’s largest retailer Tesco, for example, dropped its plan to label all its products with their carbon footprint, after promising “a revolution in green consumption”, blaming the work involved and other supermarkets for failing to follow its lead.
Carbon Trust research in 2019 found that two-thirds of consumers support the idea of a recognisable carbon label to demonstrate that products have been made with a commitment to measuring and reducing their carbon footprint.