CESA, the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association, is urging the food service industry to work together to force the Government to help with carbon reduction incentives.
A presentation on the disconnection between the current level of incentives for buyers of equipment, the practical reality of the food service market, and the Government's stated objectives was given to officials from the Treasury earlier this month by Glen Roberts, managing director of Gram UK, representing CESA.
"The Government has challenged our industry to reduce its carbon footprint, but has not developed the vehicle that could help us achieve its targets," said Roberts.
At the heart of the issue is the government's Energy Technology List (ETL). Equipment can only be included in the ETL if it is shown to be energy efficient - and buyers who select equipment from the list qualify for significant financial and tax benefits.
So, the ETL is the perfect vehicle to help industry achieve a significant reduction in its carbon footprint. However, the only category of catering equipment on the ETL is refrigeration and adding new categories is taking years - despite strong calls for action from CESA and other lobbyists.
"The ETL could make a huge impact, but we are wasting time waiting for the Government to get its act together," said Roberts. "On the one hand we have many manufacturers investing a huge amount of their resources into developing energy-saving equipment. On the other, cheap, energy-hungry models are still being imported and sold into the food service market. It's a ridiculous situation and the Government needs to act, and act now."
He added: "We all support the objective of reducing the catering industry's carbon footprint but the Government should be supporting our efforts. The whole food service industry needs to work together to raise the issue, individuals as well as associations like CESA, by contacting ministers and MPs. We have to raise our profile if we're to achieve change."
The Treasury representatives promised to circulate CESA's views to ministers and have committed the Treasury to further meetings.