Important measures

Often municipalities have low budgets, but by complying with the criteria of Diet for a Green Planet it does not need to cost more. By redesigning and planning your activities and purchasing, it is possible to get far. These are the measures we have identified as important in a shift to more sustainable meals

Reduce wastage

This allows you to save a lot of money. Waste may occur in different areas, like before cooking due to inadequate storage and planning, after serving when it’s not possible to take advantage of the leftovers and directly from the plate when guests take more than they can eat. In Södertälje we have, over time measured how much food we waste and have worked with various measures to reduce the amount of food that is thrown away.

Reducing the use of manufactured and semi-manufactured products

Serving readymade foods is often very expensive and many manufactured products are also difficult to reuse in an acceptable way.

Reduce the consumption of meat

In Sweden we eat more meat per person than is sustainable, based on the planet's resources. There is no shortage of protein in our diet and we can therefore eat less meat without the risk of becoming protein deficient. When kitchens prepare a meat dish, e.g. a bolognese sauce or a meat stew, they combine it with vegetables, lentils or beans which results in a cheaper more environmentally friendly dish, and is a source of important fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Whole grains and saturating vegetables

Coarse vegetables and wholegrain products are more nutritious, satisfying, possible to grow in a Nordic climate and not at least - affordable. By not using refined products, a smaller amount is needed to satisfy your hunger.

Seasonal Customizing of your Purchases

This means not buying expensive imported products out of season. This saves money but means that you need to learn how to use and vary the domestic products. To support the kitchens in how they think, we have developed a solution in The Seasonal Pyramid (click here).

Hire experienced kitchen staff

An experienced chef receives a little higher salary but has valuable knowledge of how to achieve good kitchen logistics. To take advantage of chef’s professional skills and creativity, each kitchen in Södertälje plan their own menu’s. The menu can then be adapted to the guest’s different preferences and needs and it’s easier to manage waste.

A knowledgeable cook, that is confident in his/her profession can also explain to guests how and why the food served is connected to sustainability.

Continually educate kitchen personnel

The kitchen personnel needs to know what goals you have and how you can translate the goals into practice. We have clear volume goals in our work plans and offer brief digital trainings to increase knowledge about raw materials.

Cook food as close to the guest as possible

The receiving kitchens throw away a lot of food and the advantage of reusing leftovers by cooking new dishes is lost. In addition, the food loses both nutritional and sensory quality’s during transport and heating. By having a complete working kitchen where the food can be cooked from scratch is therefore of great importance. It costs more in investment, but that money is regained in the long term in forms of happier staff and guests, plus reduces waste.

Involve the guests

In order for our guests to appreciate the food we serve; we need to create relationships with them. We do this in Södertälje by being present and active in the dining room, and we participate in food councils where we can explain our choice of what to serve, while listening to feedback. We also encourage all schools and kindergartens to bring the children into the kitchens. At the units where we have implemented this idea, we have seen a positive change in attitudes amongst pupils.

More organic and local

Organic and locally produced food may cost a little more, but if you have taken the above steps you can created a place for it.

In the municipality of Södertälje, politicians decided in 2001 that the municipality would buy organic products and use the municipality's purchases as a tool for sustainable development. At present we have a goal of 75 % of organic food purchases. We also have policy objectives to serve more locally produced food to contribute to food sustainability and a vibrant countryside.

Helena Nordlund

Project manager, MatLust
Tel: + 46 08 523 071 23

Sara Jervfors

Head of project, MatLust & Head of Diet Units in Södertälje municipality and Gnesta municipality
Tel: +46 08 523 064 66

Latest update: 22 April 2021
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Diet for a Green Planet is a concept by Södertälje kommun via MatLust Utvecklingsnod