We present our analysis in three graphics

Company performance across multiple issues.

Future-fit companies need to be performing well across multiple issues, rather than focusing only on a few challenges.

Company spider diagram profiles are calculated from performance on metrics within each topic.

Click through to see each company’s profile against multiple issues.  Scores closer to the outer ring of the graphic indicate better performance.  We also include a potential profile for “2020 Leadership” which takes the best performance across the sector to illustrate what is possible for the sector.

Company focus on products vs supply chains.

Future-fit companies need to focus on developing their products and revenues and ensuring their supply chains are both aligned with a healthy and sustainable food system.

Companies are rated on two dimensions: Products and Supply Chains.  Ratings for this are calculated from scores on specific metrics from our analysis that relate to healthy and sustainable products, and to sustainable and equitable supply chains accordingly.  Companies should aim to be in the top right hand corner.

Hover over the data points to see how each company performs.

Company traffic light score across multiple issues.

Future-fit companies should aim for green lights across all issues.

Traffic light rankings are allocated from the same data used in the spider diagram profiles.

Click on each issue to see how companies compare on specific topics.

Each individual company scorecard can be downloaded below the three graphics, along with a sector summary.

For individual company profiles, full data analysis and recommended investor asks, please download the relevant scorecards.


2020 Leadership    JD Wetherspoons    Mitchell &  Butlers    

The Restaurant Group   Whitbread    




Last year we found that no casual dining restaurant chains had public targets for sales of fruit & vegetables and plant-based proteins and this has not fundamentally changed, although most do now have a commitment for a minimum of two portions of veg on children’s menus.  Across the sector there is evidence of initiatives to reduce specific unhealthy ingredients such as sugar and salt, but less formalised initiatives introduce more vegetables and plant-based meals to menus.  Concrete targets are lacking

Key investor asks on all companies should be to convert initiatives into company-wide targets that show a shift away from foods that are high in fats, sugar and salt, towards fruit & vegetables, fibre-rich foods and for a proportionate increase in the sale of proteins that are plant-based. 


Regarding climate change, plant-base foods are beginning to be introduced across menus but, while some are beginning to map their scope 3 emissions, targets specific to a reduction in scope 3 emissions are still evolving.

Concerning zero deforestation, some evidence was found for initiatives around palm oil with Wetherspoons and Whitbread setting targets for deforestation free palm oil (for cooking oil and as part of a wider zero deforestation plan respectively) but clear performance data is missing.  Land use conversion for soy in animal feed is however not really being addressed by this sector although sourcing beef from deforestation-free regions has largely been addressed with the majority sourcing beef only from the UK & Ireland.

Most companies report some data for sustainable wild-caught seafood and aquaculture, primarily through certifications, but committing to wider sourcing targets from agricultural producers using sustainable on-farm practices appears a low priority for the sector.

Regarding risk exposure to water use, operational water use is recognised as an issue with some data reported, but water stress as a key supply chain concern is rarely mentioned in either corporate reports or relevant sections on company websites. The risk exposure for this of course will depend on the extent of global and regional sourcing from water scare regions, but little evidence was found across the sector that this risk was being quantified.

The majority have some form of food waste metrics or reduction targets, but this focus does not extend to working with suppliers to reduce food waste across the supply chain. Again, the majority have made progress to reduce the use of plastics as the sector responds to wider concerns about these issues.

For a detailed analysis of the sector’s performance on animal welfare and antimicrobial resistance in livestock supply chains, see BBFAW.

Social inclusion

In common with this quick service and catering sectors, targets around living wages are weaker in this sector although companies generally emphasis that they pay at or above the national living wage.  We found no companies to be signatories to the Real Living Wage initiative in the UK. 



Regarding human rights in their supply chains, companies tend to have human rights policies but lack the reporting data to evidence whether they are exposed to risk or to what extent their supply chains are being actively engaged, especially beyond tier one. 


Remarks on the impact of covid-19

All restaurant chains experienced significant negative impacts in the first few months of the UK response to covid-19 (see the Food Foundation’s share price tracker) and a number have announced permanent closures of parts of their estates. 

With uncertainties around how viable many businesses will prove to be over the next phase of the pandemic and the growth in delivery services, investors looking to engage with companies in downstream food businesses should ensure that the pursuit of market growth or economic recovery does not come at the expense of businesses setting ambitious targets and reporting clearly on their transition to healthy and sustainable food.