50% of operators blame cost for not buying greener kitchen equipment

Cost is still the biggest barrier to the purchase of energy efficient catering equipment, it was claimed yesterday at the launch of a new report into kitchen sustainability.

UK foodservice remains an industry that “buys mainly on price” despite an awareness among operators that choosing more sustainable equipment offers significant lifetime savings.

Around 50% of those interviewed for the ‘Equipped for the Future’ report, published by Footprint Intelligence and Hoshizaki, cited price as a primary consideration when purchasing equipment.

Despite studies showing that up to 63% of a restaurant or pub’s overall energy expenditure is derived from the kitchen, operators are continuing to overlook more efficient equipment for cheaper alternatives.

Dennis Brewin, head of catering for the London Borough of Havering, who was interviewed for the report, agreed that price was the main barrier to the uptake of more sustainable equipment as far as his organisation is concerned.

“We do look at how sustainable products are, but we find it difficult because of the cost,” he said.

Other factors shaping operators purchasing decisions include functionality, the availability of comparable energy data and additional sustainability considerations, such as water efficiency, waste or the refrigerant gas used.

While operators talk about an “interplay of factors” impacting their decisions and demonstrate a general reluctance to single out just one main motivator, Hoshizaki UK managing director Steve Loughton said the overriding sense from manufacturers and resellers was that, “when it comes to it, price is the biggest driver”.

“Nevertheless, there is an awakening understanding of environmental impacts and sustainability concerns. Of course, if it costs the same, operators embrace it,” he said.

The 30-page ‘Equipped for the Future’ report lays out a series of ‘action points’ for manufacturers, operators and government to enable barriers to energy efficient kitchen equipment to be overcome.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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