Bristol restaurant first to prioritise carbon footprints over calories on menus

The Canteen partners with UK’s largest vegan charity, Viva!, and food carbon labelling provider, My Emissions, to prioritise meals’ carbon footprints over calories on menus.

This week, Bristol restaurant, The Canteen, has introduced menus that prioritise meals’ carbon footprints over calories. As part of a first-of-its-kind trial in Bristol, the menus encourage diners to consider the impact that their food choices have on the planet.

In partnership with the UK’s largest vegan charity, Viva!, and carbon calculations and labelling provider, My Emissions, The Canteen’s trial follows the recent legislation that requires restaurants around the country to include calories on their menus in a bid to combat obesity.

Viva!, is calling for menus to prioritise carbon footprint labelling over calories as a matter of urgency as the climate crisis grows. With meat, dairy, fish and eggs having a considerably higher negative impact on the planet than vegan alternatives, Viva! demands for more awareness of the link between our food choices and the environment. 

The urgency to act, coupled with controversial debate arising in the hospitality sector, suggests displaying carbon calculations on menus is significantly more important to the health of the UK and the planet than calories at this pivotal moment in time.

As seen with calories becoming mandatory on menus, the government can implement industry wide rules to inform people on their eating habits. Given the urgency of the climate and wildlife extinction crises, Viva! is calling on the government to step-in and make carbon labelling mandatory, starting with local restaurants to demonstrate the positive impact that awareness can have.

“It is imperative that we act now if we want to save our planet, and it’s clear that a vegan diet is the best way for an individual to make a difference” said Laura Hellwig, Managing Director at Viva!

“Raising awareness of the carbon footprints from the production of meat, dairy, fish and eggs is crucial – a lot of people have no idea that eating one beef burger can be as damaging as driving the average UK petrol car for 10 miles.

“We’ve partnered with My Emissions, as well as The Canteen, to understand just how much impact carbon labels on our menus can have and to help diners realise the connection between what they’re eating and the environment.

“We’re really pleased to have partnered with The Canteen. It’s been interesting to see the responses from different restaurants. Unsurprisingly, those with meat on the menu have so far declined to take part which, we believe, is due to them knowing that meat-based dishes will have a considerably higher carbon footprint than vegan options.”

Matthew Isaacs, Co-Founder of My Emissions, said: “Climate change is the problem of our generation, and eating more low carbon food is one of the best ways we can reduce our impact on the planet.

“We hope our partnership with The Canteen and Viva! will inspire more local businesses to adopt food carbon labelling and help their customers make more sustainable choices.”

Dr Matthew Harris, Head Chef at The Canteen, said: “Including carbon footprints on menus is a positive step in encouraging people to be more aware of the impact of their choices.

“We are delighted with the carbon calculations of our menu, made up of predominantly vegan dishes, showing the importance of sustainable choices.

“If carbon labelling was rolled out across the UK, we’d see restaurants and customers encouraged to make better decisions around the food they consume.”

The Canteen’s new summer menus have a great selection of deliciously fresh vegan food available. All sourced as locally as possible from small market gardens and farms. Lunch is served Tues – Sun from midday, and dinner Mon – Sat from 5pm. It’s a great venue for every occasion, from relaxed dinning with friends and family, to late night dancing with live music six nights a week.

To find out more about The Canteen, including menu, opening hours and address, please visit