Swedish Dietitians Work to Reduce Food Waste

Supported by great resources from the Swedish Food Agency (https://www.livsmedelsverket.se/en), dietitians are reducing the amount of food in Swedish institutions, including schools, long term care facilities, and hospitals.  I’ll share the details in English, and then Swedish below 🙂 

ENGLISH

Swedes throw away about 25% of the food and drink that we purchase per person, per year!  For individuals and households, it is because we buy too much, store it improperly, and throw away leftovers instead of using them. This is bad for the environment: food is produced unnecessarily, and food waste contributes to climate variability and environmental challenges. It is also costly for households. The goal moving forward is to halve the global food waste production per year, and Sweden has a plan that dietitians can contribute to.  Three Swedish agencies related to food, farming and environment have put forward a collaborative action plan, ”Fler gör mer,” that outlines strategic actions for various actors in the food system. Dietitians and food service workers are part of that. It is only available in Swedish, but Google Translate might be able to help with the “to-do” lists included 🙂 

In the public sector (schools, hospitals, care facilities, etc.), food services have an important role in the work to reduce food waste, and to be good role models for cultural change.  Built on a successful model in Gothenburg, the Swedish Food Agency (SLV) has produced a handbook ”Handbok för minskat matsvinn”  that explains food waste and includes how-to information for reduction and measurement. The goal is that everyone involved in public sector food service will use this measurement model so that we can track and reduce our food waste accurately.  This is absolutely not easy! The handbook is only in Swedish, but Google Translate might be able to help 🙂 

SWEDISH

I Sverige slänger vi ca 20 kg ätbar mat/person och år, plus 25 kg mat och dryck som hälls ut i slasken! Det är ungefär 25% av all den mat vi handlar/person och år. Som privatpersoner är det för att vi köper för mycket mat, förvarar maten fel och kastar överbliven mat istället för att använda resterna. För miljön är det dåligt med svinn. Mat produceras i onödan, och det belastar klimat och miljö. Och för ett hushåll blir det mycket pengar. Målet framåt är att halvera det globala matsvinnet per person. I Sverige har man ( Livsmedelsverket, Jordbruksverket och Naturvårdsverket) tagit fram en handlingsplan för minskat matsvinn 2030 ”Fler gör mer”.

De offentliga måltidsverksamheterna har en viktig roll i svinnarbetet, och kan vara goda förebilder för sina matgäster. I Göteborgs kommun har man tagit fram en ”Göteborgsmodellen för mindre matsvinn”. Efter den har SLV tagit fram en ”Handbok för minskat matsvinn” som bygger på Gbg modellen, men har tillägg om ex tallrikssvinn, konsumtionsmätningar och SLVs nationella mätmetod för matsvinnsmätningar. Mätningarna vill man att alla offentliga kök ska börja med. Inte helt lätta kan jag försäkra! 

Great Meals for a Change

My brilliant colleagues and I created a fun and educational program to help people understand and experience sustainable food through sharing a meal while playing interactive games. We used the idea of social learning for behaviour change, which is helpful in bridging the knowledge-action gap that so many nutritionists are challenged by. The games are fun, fun, fun — and everyone should try it! You can learn more about Great Meals for a Change in our Tools for Practice.

Healthy and Sustainable Institutional Food in Atlantic Canada

Acadia University hosts approximately 3,500 students in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, eastern Canada. Over the past six years, concerned faculty, staff, and students have been engaged in sustained efforts to shift towards more healthy, sustainable and just food at Acadia. Strategies for making institutional food both more healthy and more sustainable while striving to keep it affordable for the student population have included creating food environments that make choices that are better for people and the planet the easy choice, a focus on scratch cooking and whole foods, setting targets for locally and sustainably produced foods that are minimally processed and shifting towards plant-based menus.