Published: 18-11-2021 09:52 | Updated: 11-01-2022 17:49

Sustainable meals for all – how do we get there until 2030?

OPTIMAT seminar. Photo: Ulf Sirborn

10 November an OPTIMAT seminar was held on the theme “Sustainable meals for all – how do we get there until 2030?”.

The purpose of the seminar was to present and discuss different approaches to achieving sustainable meals in the public sector with a focus on children and young people.

The aim of the OPTIMAT project is to develop a holistic model for designing health-promoting, affordable, and socially acceptable school meal plans optimized for environmental sustainability (greenhouse gas emissions) as well as testing the applicability in practice.

Liselotte Schäfer Elinder
Liselotte Schäfer Elinder, Research group leader CoNPA. Photo: andreas andersson

What was the seminar about?

“The seminar concluded the OPTIMAT project on sustainable and healthy school meals, conducted at GPH from 2017-2021. We were 34 participants from academia, research funders, national agencies, government offices, municipalities meal services, NGOs and representatives from the regions.

Nine presentations were given about ongoing research projects in Sweden concerning sustainable diets, population surveys, the National School Meal initiative, funding opportunities under the National Programme for Food, and two examples from municipalities on how to achieve sustainable school meals”, says Liselotte Schäfer Elinder, Research group leader CoNPA.

What are the next steps in the research?

“Next steps will be to develop new initiatives and innovations and evaluate ongoing ones, so that good examples can be implemented more widely based on evidence. We should also try to agree on valid sustainability indicators and to involve students to a higher degree than today”.

What are you looking forward to?

“All participants greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet again physically and expressed an ambition to continue the collaboration to improve school- and other public meals in Sweden with the aim of reaching the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Agreement on climate change.

Food production and consumption is one of the main sources of man-made greenhouse gas emissions and other negative environmental impacts. Therefore it is of highest urgency to perform research and development including children and youth to change the demand of future food towards being more plant-based”.