Ray Gluckman, director with climate change group Enviros, told BMPA delegates that new government policies, retailer initiatives and EU regulations were on the horizon.
Carbon labelling is a key issue facing the sector, with a number of retailers looking to lead the charge. However, said Gluckman, gathering the information for something simple, such as a meat sandwich, was inherently complex.
"It's not straightforward, but if you're asked for the information, you will need to supply it. We need to define what we mean by carbon labelling and what the consumer is looking to get out of it - how will they use the information in their buying decision. The industry also needs to decide what it wants to get out of it."
He highlighted the Energy Performance Commitment, a new government scheme aimed at plugging a gap in the UK's policies, which could affect companies not in the voluntary Climate Change Agreements, both of which are aimed at energy use reduction. Those not in CCA could find themselves in a mandatory EPC scheme, he warned.
Another serious issue facing the processing sector is the phasing out of R22 refrigerants and Gluckman said the industry needs to plan ahead to avoid difficulties.
F-gas regulation was another area of concern, and he said the industry needed to be aware of the new rules - or face the possibility that HFC refrigeration gases could be withdrawn as well.