Campden BRI develops cooking energy and cost rating service to help empower consumers

A Cooking Energy and Cost Rating service has been launched by Campden BRI.

The service has been designed to support food manufacturers and retailers, enabling them to provide information – either on-pack or otherwise – on the energy used to cook products, using a range of appliances, to empower consumers to make an informed decision on the cost of cooking their purchase.

It follows rising concern about energy prices and the cost of cooking. A consumer poll conducted in December 2022 by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), revealed that one in five consumers reported eating cold food, because they felt unable to afford the cost of heating or cooking a hot meal.

Greg Hooper, instruction services manager and thermal process specialist at Campden BRI, noted that Between September 2021 and October 2022, the average household energy bill almost doubled so it’s no surprise that consumers are concerned about the amount of energy they are using to prepare a hot meal and the cost of cooking.

“But very little guidance is available about the cost of cooking or reheating particular food products,” he added. “And as many products can be cooked or reheated using a range of different domestic appliances and are available to purchase in different formats such as fresh, frozen or canned, it has been extremely difficult for consumers to find accurate, detailed and transparent information about cooking costs.”

The trials conducted by Campden BRI while developing its Cooking Energy and Cost Rating service tested a wide range of chilled and frozen products to reveal some stark differences. Frozen products required more energy to cook than the equivalent chilled products, but the cooking appliance used had a greater impact on the energy usage than the product type and starting temperature. For instance, fan assisted oven cooking used approximately 1.5 times more energy than using an electric oven when cooking the same product. The results also indicated that, for some products, microwave cooking can be 10 times cheaper than oven cooking and 6 times cheaper than air-frying.

Greg Hooper added: “We know consumers are keen to understand the impact of cooking on their energy bill. The data gathered during our trials is expected to prove extremely useful to consumers and therefore to retailers and manufacturers, who will now be able to share information about the cost of cooking with respect to their products and cooking appliances.”

The Cooking Energy and Cost Rating service is now available to all Campden BRI clients, either as part of its Instruction Service when generating and verifying cooking instructions, or as a standalone service for products with existing, verified instructions.

Click here to download the Cooking Energy and Cost Rating whitepaper.


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