The founder of a London-based burger chain has slammed “bullsh*t” sustainability claims by restaurants as the company becomes the first national chain to move to regeneratively farmed beef to tackle its carbon emissions.
Honest Burgers will revise its supply chains to scrap abattoirs in favour of working directly with farmers to ensure cattle are farmed sustainably.
Honest Burgers CEO Tom Barton said: ”We want people to be more selective about the meat they do eat.”
“I hope they start pushing back to companies that just give them watered down bullshit lines like ‘100% fresh beef’ - that doesn’t mean anything.”
Barton questioned the “greenwashing” carbon offsetting programmes adopted by catering businesses as it was “hard to know if you’re supporting anything” by funding a scheme “halfway around the globe.”
“To use offsetting as your first means of addressing sustainability just seems completely backwards,” he said.
Founded in Brixton in 2011, Honest Burgers has grown to over 40 locations including sites in Kings Cross, Canary Wharf and a vegan plant burger site in Leicester Square. The company now has over 900 employees and forecasts sales of £45 million in 2022.
As part of the company’s regenerative farming policy, the farmers Honest Burgers partner with will reduce their use of pesticides move from grain to grass-fed livestock, while cattle will be allowed to roam across land to improve soil fertility and biodiversity.
The move is set to cost the business around £500k a year, but Barton said Honest did not have plans to put prices up in the short term.
“We’re certainly not just going to pass this cost on to consumers as that would be the wrong thing to do and certainly the wrong timing to do something like that now,” he said.