Mashie, or Foodit as it was called five years ago, was one of the first to use the RISE climate database, and still does today. Every day, municipalities, county councils and caterers log on to their platform to optimise menus, calculate costs, nutritional content and climate footprint, streamline flows and buy food.
Most of the three million servings of food served daily at schools, preschools, nursing homes, home care services and hospitals are planned using Mashie’s digitised meal system.
“Technically, the climate database is only a small part of this process, but it is crucial to us and our customers. Its value and usefulness have grown considerably now that climate issues have risen so high on the agenda,” Per-Anders Ek, product manager at Mashie, says.
As Foodit’s CEO, he enthusiastically embraced the climate database project five years ago.
– “It was an exciting project. Not only did it give us a competitive advantage, it made sense, too. We’ve always wanted to feel that we’re helping society and social development. So it was a natural step for us. We saw it as part of the future,” he says
Climate data is used in more ways now
Over the years, the issue of climate change has risen from being important to almost topping the agenda, after the COVID-19 pandemic. His colleague Lena Schröder confirms how conversations with the company’s customers have changed:
– “Previously we used to talk about ‘good, nutritious’ meals for schoolchildren and the elderly. Now we talk about how important it is to do something to stop climate change: the meals must be sustainable nutritionally, economically and in terms of the climate. Sure, people mentioned food waste and organic food before as well, but mostly in an economic perspective.
– “They’ve seen how their own customers have evolved in terms of how they deal with food’s climate impact once it became possible to calculate the climate impact of the individual food products.
– “The first thing that happened was certain ingredients were replaced and recipes were changed, mostly for the sake of internal accounting. Today, we often go one step further and present the climate impact of the different dishes,” Lena Schröder says.
She has also observed more variation in terms of what is served:
– “Older students are given more options to choose from. Previously, there was usually one dish and a veggie alternative on the menu. Today, there are often two or three alternatives, with several vegetable dishes.”
Just seeing a climate rating doesn’t mean much
More intelligible climate ratings
Right now, Mashie’s challenge is to help its customers make the climate ratings more intelligible.
– “Just seeing a climate rating doesn’t mean much. What is an acceptable climate rating for one week of school meals? We’re looking into how to illustrate this and help businesses benchmark against one another.”
Even the diners need help interpreting the ratings.
– “Are two kilos of carbon emissions from a food dish good or bad? Some municipalities have tried using red, yellow and green colours to communicate the climate footprint. Some schools have compared it to how far a car can be driven for the same climate footprint,” Lena Schröder says.
“I feel like I’m part of the process and can exert influence”
To Mashie, the RISE climate database has not only provided a better service, which its customers appreciate, but it has also made the company’s own ‘why’ stronger than ever.
– “The ‘why’ can often seem trite, but working on the climate footprint feels incredibly important. It infuses value throughout my work and the industry as a whole. I feel like I’m part of the process and can exert genuine influence,” Lena Schröder says.
– “I feel that we’re responsible for doing this properly, simply because the sense of climate urgency has intensified so much. This motivates me and everyone in the company,” Per-Anders Ek says.