It is fair to say that a lot of foodservice operators pay lip service to energy efficiency without necessarily following through on their rhetoric, but there is no danger of that happening where Oliver Rosevear and Costa Coffee is concerned. His whole remit is based on driving energy and environmental improvements throughout the company’s ever-expanding national network of stores.

With 1,800 sites and market leadership of the UK coffee shop market, any investment the Whitbread-owned chain makes is big news, which is why the launch of a groundbreaking ‘Eco Pod’ this year gained plenty of headlines from those inside and outside the foodservice sector. Located at Telford’s Wrekin Retail Park, the site has captured the imagination with a ‘zero energy’ rating achieved through the use of passive ventilation and innovative construction techniques.

Of course, a zero energy catering equipment estate is virtually impossible given that coffee machines, refrigeration and warewashing equipment aren’t going to power themselves, but that hasn’t stopped the chain from really drilling down on this aspect of procurement. Oliver and Costa’s buying team insist that energy and water efficiency remain at the centre of its decision-making process. “This focus has delivered a 32% energy saving across our retail estate since 2009. As with all successful businesses we want to ensure we continuously improve,” he explains. “We therefore continue to scan the market for new innovative technology that will help us continue to drive down our carbon emissions.”

Given that energy costs can far outweigh the capital cost of equipment over its lifetime, it is essential that appliances are selected for the long term if it is going to be rolled-out over hundreds of sites. Oliver points to Costa’s Valina coffee machine as an example of why innovation is key. “The machine is able to learn the trade patterns of the store and manage its power usage throughout the day and week. This has led to a reduction in energy usage of 28% compared to its predecessor’s,” he says.

Opening of the Costa Eco Pod in Telford. Picture by Sam Bagnall

“We continue to scan the market for new innovative technology THAT will help us to drive down our carbon emissions”

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