Sustainable use of natural resources in different out-of-home catering settings: Sustainability assessment of meals
Tobias Engelmann1, Katrin Bienge2, Holger Rohn1, Melanie Speck2
1Faktor 10 – Institut für nachhaltiges Wirtschaften gemeinnützige GmbH, Germany; 2Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy
Human nutrition is responsible for about 30 % of global resource consumption. In order to decrease the resource use of the nutrition sector to a level in line with planetary boundaries, it is suggested to reduce it by a factor 2. NAHGAST focuses on the catering sector which represents about 40 % market share in the total nutrition market in Germany.
In the research project NAHGAST (Developing, Testing and Dissemination of concepts for sustainable production and consumption in the food service sector), a sustainability assessment tool for meals has been developed and tested in five different catering settings. The assessment tool on product level – consisting of two modules: NAHGAST Meal Basis and NAHGAST Meal Pro – combines a selection of several sustainability indicators in the dimensions of ecology, health, social issues, and economy. Moreover, it integrates qualitative indicators (such as regionality, saisonality etc.) as well as quantitative, impact-oriented indicators (such as carbon and material footprint), each related to estimated sustainable levels. In the user-friendly tool, data for the majority of the indicators is generated or calculated automatically after entering the meals’ ingredients in an Excel sheet. For all the pilot companies, dishes were assessed in 11 different dish categories (such as pasta, stew, vegetarian casserolle etc.) taking one to three different recepies in each. The food assessment is the basis for different interventions, e.g. for labelling the best-assessed meals or for placing them on the most frequented counter and also for further improving their recipes in order to create sustainable flagship meals.
This paper aims to outline the assessment method and tool and to present exemplary results of the food assessment. Also, the validity of the assessment results, obstacles for creating valid results, corellations of the two NAHGAST indicator sets, and consequences for the further project development are discussed.