Levy UK + I, the sports and hospitality sector of Compass Group UK and Ireland, is planning to scrap the use of air freight for the supply of produce to its venues in a significant step towards the company's carbon-neutral ambitions.
The move will see an even greater emphasis placed on British seasonality by the Levy procurement team and executive chefs when designing menus across venues, which include Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the O2 arena and the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon.
This will see Levy chefs using runner beans, asparagus and seasonal berries instead of previously imported items such as fine beans, South American asparagus and air freighted berries from over the world.
Levy has worked with Foodbuy, the procurement arm of Compass, to analyse the journey of all food produce supplying its venues and ensure that point-of-origin is specified and clearly labelled on the fruit and vegetables used by company chefs.
Freight transport collectively accounts for more than 7% of all global emissions, according to the International Transport Forum, and is thought to be the most carbon-intensive method of transporting fresh produce.
Levy also said it remained committed to reducing food waste, limiting reliance on animal protein across its menus and promoting a greater proportion of plant-forward options across all its venues and hospitality tiers.
Levy's ambition is to "one day be in a position to deliver carbon-neutral menus in as many of its venues as possible".
Jon Davies, managing director of Levy UK, said: "This decision is not about restricting choice, but about working in partnership with our procurement team and our chefs to be even more creative in how we design and deliver food experiences for our customers. For Levy chefs, that means dishes that are increasingly built around British seasonal produce, that do not compromise on taste or quality, and that are good for both people and the planet.
"On the procurement side, it's about finding alternatives to air freight that are less harmful to the environment. Lots of green vegetables which can be grown right here in the UK are unnecessarily imported from abroad via this method, which carries a huge cost to the health of our planet. We will still supply produce such as tropical fruits and avocados where there is demand, but it's about finding producers closer to home – continental Europe, for example – or less harmful methods of transportation that reduce our carbon impact on the planet, such as boat, road or rail."