Carbon Foodprints stuffed peppers. Carbon Foodprint per/serving 0.61kg CO2e. Credit: Mareyah Bhatti

With lockdown beginning to ease, people in the UK have started to think about their plans for when society re-opens. Over the past 10 weeks, many have begun to make food more creatively, resourcefully and sustainably. Mareyah Bhatti, creator of blog Carbon Foodprints, says that she hopes this pattern will continue.

A new study by YouGov has found that around 1 in 3 people in the UK are looking to spend more on eating out after lockdown. However, they argue that this increase does not necessarily signal the end of “banana bread and homemade pasta dominating Instagram feeds”.

Instead, as over 1 in 5 Brits plan to spend more on home cooked meals, YouGov says that lockdown has inspired some people to cook more than before, and they intend to keep it up.


YouGov study results: Brits plan to spend more money on eating out and cooking post-lockdown.

 

Mareyah’s blog promotes “cooking food in a sustainable way, a way that’s friendly to the environment, whilst also creating really delicious meals.” For every recipe she makes, she tells followers the CO2e value of the food.

She hopes that the changes people have made to their cooking habits in lockdown are here to stay.

Mareyah Bhatti, creator of Carbon Foodprints. Credit: Mareyah Bhatti

For Mareyah, this change in behaviour is because “we’re all working from home, or we’re all home a lot more, for whatever reasons that might be, we’ve got a lot more time to just connect with ourselves, with our health, with what we’re putting into our body.”

“People are changing the way they cook because of what’s happening around them”

Mareyah Bhatti, Carbon Footprints.

However, a big motivator for some people is reducing waste, and eating in a more environmentally friendly way. Mareyah agrees: “people are changing the way they cook because of what’s happening around them”.

She thinks that some people recognise that “just because we’re in one crisis at the moment, to do with the pandemic, doesn’t mean the other crisis, as in climate change, has gone away… We need to make sure we’re focusing on both of them and not just one”.


Mareyah Bhatti says that the food habit changes of COVID-19 is having a second impact on the climate crisis. 

Recent research by WRAP has found that people across the UK have been managing their food better in lockdown. This includes storing food better, and wasting less. In the study, 4,197 people were interviewed over the age of 18. They found that participants reported a 34% decrease in food waste.


Wrap research: how people in the UK have been managing their food better in lockdown.

 

This increased attention on sustainability is reflected in the greater number of visits to WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste Food Storage A-Z campaign website. Visits are up by 158%, suggesting that people are actively seeking out information to help them better manage food.

WRAP hopes that this pattern will continue long-term, after lockdown has finished.

Mareyah has noticed a similar pattern on Instagram since lockdown began. “On Instagram there’s a really big food community, and I’ve seen an increase in engagement on it, from myself, from my followers, from my friends.. there’s more discussions happening around it.”

“I think people are more open to understanding food, and tips they can use on how to be environmentally friendly, how to create better meals, little things they can do, for example freezing your food or growing your own veg”.

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Dalgona Coffee Carbon Foodprint p/serving: 0.55kg CO2e . . Dalgona coffee is a South Korean drink that seems to have gained a lot of hype over the past few weeks, and rightly so! The velvety frothy cream adds another dimension to it that certainly makes those morning coffees more enjoyable. Drinking sustainable coffee is a great way to help your impact on the environment, so always look out for labels on packets such as Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade. To switch this drink up, swap the coffee and ice for hot chocolate and warm milk! This recipe can also be adapted to suit vegans e.g. by using soy milk, oat milk etc. . . Full recipe in the link in my bio! . . #dalgona #sustainablecoffee #sustainability #supporttheenvironment #tasty #southkorean #frothygoodness #quickdrinks #foodblogger #simpleandeasy #carbonfoodprints

A post shared by Mareyah (@carbonfoodprints) on

Mareyah’s Instagram Carbon Foodprints.

For those who still aren’t fans of cooking themselves, Mareyah has suggestions for eating sustainably when restaurants re-open.

“There’s quite a few things you can do”

Mareyah Bhatti, Carbon Foodprints.

“There’s quite a few things you can do. First of all you can research restaurants that use locally sourced suppliers, just so, one, you’re supporting the local businesses around you, but you’re also lowering your environmental footprint if you’re eating food that hasn’t come from too far away”.

“You can also choose restaurants that champion zero-waste, so they may collect food from other restaurants that otherwise may have gone into the bin, and by that you’re helping to reduce waste”.

She adds: “you can choose which food you’re eating depending on certain ingredients. If you are a meat-eater, go for a chicken or a lamb option, as opposed to beef. There are really good plant-based meats out there as well, that actually taste really similar to meat, so don’t be too scared to try new things”


Mareyah describes how COVID-19 has affected her recipes, and the food community online.

“I think it’s quite exciting actually because it means that you kind of open yourself up to more meals and more dishes and different things that you may not have eaten beforehand”.

As lockdown slowly begins to ease and more of society opens up, for some, new-found culinary skills can produce even more rewarding results than any restaurant could.

 

YouGov is an international research data and analytics group. Their vision is to be a valued public resource for fast and innovative data.

WRAP works with governments, businesses and communities, to reach a more sustainable, resource efficient economy.

 

To find out more about either of the studies mentioned in this article, use the following links:

Brits will spend more on eating out after lockdown.

Citizens and food during lockdown.