The FoodMetric Tool

Outline of research:

Our current food choices and food production systems are contributing to the worsening global ecological and climate crises. This project aims to design and build an easy-to-use tool that enables organisations (particularly college catering) to measure the environmental impact of their food choices, to track their impact over time, and to explore options for reducing this impact by operationalising the Mitigation and Conservation Hierarchy, in order to meet a measurable environmental target (for example net gain of biodiversity and net zero carbon by 2035).


We aim to develop a tool, particularly aimed at college catering during the first year of this project, that is easy to use and interpret by catering end-users. We aim to develop a first-cut working prototype of this tool by the end of May 2022. This prototype would then be piloted in college catering, to gain feedback about the usability and value of this tool to inform improvements.

Summary of planned activities:

  1. Understand the market and preferred aspects of this tool from gaining input and insight from college and commercial caterers.
  2. Clarifying the functionality of the tool: developing the underlying algorithms for quantifying the impact of food and the impact reduction through actions following the MCH.
  3. Adapting the existing environmental database to be the basis for this trial tool
  4. Establishing how the Mitigation and Conservation Hierarchy can be operationalised into this tool; understanding the operational constraints of catering by talking to college and commercial caterers.


This project was initiated by OxPOCH (a project which has now come to an end)