With the food sector reported to contribute 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions, Foodsteps – a UK based startup launched in 2021 – aims to provide a platform that will allow companies to view their carbon footprint in an effort to reduce harmful operations.
Impact of the Foodsteps Database
Foodsteps was founded by Anya Doherty in 2019 and aims to point food businesses on a path to becoming leaders of sustainability. The platform has combined expertise in environmental science, food systems and software development to create a database which traces the carbon footprint, land use, water use and pollution of over 3,000 ingredients.
The platform is streamlined into a single tool, enabling quick access to the calculated environmental impacts of food operations and is already being utilised by dozens of prominent UK food companies such as Pizza Express, Wagamama and Ask Italian.
After securing seed funding of £3.2 million, Anya Doherty, CEO and founder at Foodsteps, commented, “This funding will help us bring in the brightest minds in data and technology to accelerate our work”, whilst setting a clear vision for the ambitions of the platform, stating “Our commitment is to be a force for transparent, collaboration and ambition in the drive to fix our food system.”
Transparency in the Food Sector
As pressure builds on the road to net zero, one of the main features used by companies to measure and assess greenhouse gas emissions through the lens of three ‘scopes’, which aim to source emissions found in the wider chain of a company’s operations. Foodsteps aims to provide more availability to both company and consumer on ingredients used in food operations and their respective emissions.
The platform enables companies to incorporate ‘carbon labels’ on their products. These labels will aim to communicate the carbon footprint per serving by categorising this information into a traffic light colour system. QR codes will also allow for the ‘FoodStory’ of each product to be traced from farm to fork.
Pascale Schuit, Sustainable Sourcing Manager at Union Hand-Roasted Coffee said, “Foodsteps calculated the carbon footprint of a cup of coffee throughout our supply chain. The Foodsteps team gathered relevant data very efficiently.”
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Possible, Scalable and On the Rise
The new funding will aid Foodsteps as the team looks to expand its core competencies in software and data engineering to allow the database of the platform to develop and incorporate more environmental impacts relevant to ingredients – such as farm-level biodiversity.
Beyond growing the Foodsteps team, the company also hopes to create a client portfolio of leading food businesses to maximise the impact of the platform and consolidate its leading position in environmental data.
Concerning Foosteps work in the detailing of food supply chains, Lucy Clarke, Investor at Octopus Ventures, said, “Foodsteps can make this possible in days and they’ve not only made the process possible, they’ve made it scalable, meaning businesses can take data-driven steps towards reducing emissions and meeting net-zero goals before it’s too late.”
The platform is looking to partner with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Waste and Resources Actions Programme (WRAP) in an effort to aid and prioritise the largest emitters in the sector to decarbonise their operations. These will join the client base of the platform which has already doubled in the past three months.