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"Would You Like Guilt with That?" Burger Chain Posts Carbon Footprint on Menu

By Cari Martens | The Food Channel

Max Burger, a quick service restaurant chain in Sweden, claims to be the first restaurant chain in the world to publish CO2 emissions on its menu. Talk about a burger buzz kill.

The carbon footprint is totaled up right there on the illuminated menu board above the counter: from the methane produced by the cows, to the machinery used on the farms, through to the emissions from the trucks that transport the meat.

Reporter Tom Burridge of the BBC paid a visit to a Max Burger in central Stockholm, and asked the obvious question: why on Earth would a restaurant chain that sells mainly beef want to advertise how bad its products are for the planet?

Max Burger spokesman Par Larshans is quite forthcoming. “We want people to eat less meat,” he tells Burridge, and points to the many nonmeat items on the menu. “We think you need to be honest with the customer. We hope to change the whole of the fast food industry by this,” Larshans explains.

A rather ambitious goal, and one wonders, do the carbon numbers on the menu really mean anything to the average customer? However, when you compare the figures to other foods, as on this chart, they begin to have more relevance.

Calculating carbon footprints is a complex and costly process, and two Swedish organizations are currently working on a simpler label that they hope will be easier for people to understand. It will be called a “climate label” rather than carbon label.
If the new labels are a success, the company hopes they will be adopted for use all over the world.

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