How to Obtain Forty Percent Less Environmental Impact by Healthy, Protein-Optimized Snacks for Older Adults

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It is well known that meals containing less meat are more sustainable, but little is known about snack-meals, which typically do not contain meat. This study investigates the diversity in environmental impacts associated with snack production based on 20 common recipes optimized for protein content, energy content and sensory aspects for older adults. The purpose is to improve sustainability of public procurement by serving more sustainable snack-meals. Public procurement serves Danish older adults over millions of snack-meals every year, and millions more are served in countries with a similar social service. The environmental impact of snack production was estimated by consequential life cycle assessment. The average impact of producing the 10 least environmentally harmful snacks was 40% less than the average impact of producing the 10 most harmful snacks. This is true whether the functional unit was mass, energy, or protein content, and whether the environmental impact was measured as global warming potential or the monetized value of 16 impact categories. We conclude that large-scale public procurement of snack-meals by private and municipal kitchens can be reduced by up to 40% if the kitchens evaluate the environmental impact of all their snacks and serve the better half more frequently.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1514
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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