Earlier this year Hilton introduced carbon labelling onto menus across almost 30 hotels in the UK, and has now revealed insights based on guests’ dining choices.

Earlier this year Hilton introduced carbon labelling onto menus across almost 30 hotels in the UK, and has now revealed insights based on guests’ dining choices.

The hotel company has worked with sustainability experts Klimato to develop its menus and promote lower carbon options, labelling dishes as low, medium or high impact based on the carbon footprint per serving.

The labelling first appeared on menus in May across select hotels in UK cities such as London, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle. Its intention is to inspire guests to consider the environmental impact of their choices when dining at the restaurants, with almost half of the dishes served at participating hotels identified as ‘low impact’.

Initial findings suggest that the labelling encourages guests to make informed choices, with low-carbon dishes increasing in popularity. Guest feedback also revealed a positive response towards the labelling system and prompted Hilton’s menu development team to seek further opportunities to incorporate low carbon options into its restaurants.

This has led to the addition of more low- and medium-labelled dishes in the newly launched autumn menu, with these dishes making up over 85 per cent of the menu.

A three-course meal, consisting of gochujang cauliflower wings for starter, butternut squash risotto or a fish finger sandwich for main and salted caramel affogato for dessert, results in a total of 1.2 kg CO2e. According to WWF, an average UK lunch or dinner has a carbon footprint of roughly 1.6 kg CO2e today. 

Dishes with a higher carbon footprint have also been replaced with multiple lower carbon alternatives, such as the medium-footprint chicken, mushroom and tarragon or celeriac and wild mushroom pies.

The signature Smash cheeseburger has also been updated, featuring a single patty instead of a double, and served with smoked cheddar, BBQ relish, ranch dressing and a medley of vegetables. This has seen a 2.3 kg CO2e reduction in the dish’s carbon footprint.

Data from Klimato, meanwhile, has revealed that the plant burger offers a reduction of CO2 emissions equal to driving 63 kilometres in a car.

Emma Banks, vice president, F&B strategy & development, EMEA, Hilton, said: “We know our guests are as passionate about reducing their environmental footprint as we are, and we’re always looking for ways to help them on that journey. Carbon labelling is an easy way to empower guests to make more informed choices, and we’re delighted to see they’re already embracing these insights – whether that’s by opting for an ultra-low emission dish, or simply reducing the frequency with which they order dishes with a higher carbon footprint.

“As we all continuously look to reduce our impact, every small decision can make a difference, and we’re proud to be leading the way as the first hotel company to introduce and manage carbon labelling on such a scale.”

Christoffer Connée, co-founder, Klimato, added: “We are delighted to partner with Hilton in their commitment to addressing climate change and promoting sustainability within the food industry. Hilton’s dedication to calculating, communicating, and reducing their food’s environmental impact is commendable. By taking this important step, they are not only leading by example but also raising awareness about the crucial issue of food and sustainability. Together, we can create a brighter, more sustainable future for our planet.”

The initiative forms part of Hilton’s ‘Travel with Purpose’ strategy, which focuses on reducing the company’s environmental footprint. Additionally, Hilton sources as much produce as possible locally and within the UK to reduce carbon emissions, with examples including Loch Duart salmon, Dorset charcuterie, Devon crab, British cheeseboard cheeses and British steaks.