8 November 2021

StratKit launches sustainable public meal toolkit at final conference

At the final StratKIT conference on October 13th 2021, the online sustainable public meal toolkit was launched. It supports stakeholders from public procurement and catering with innovative tools to change towards sustainability. In a virtual conference with about 170 participants, experts from food and catering enterprises, the European Commission, the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and the science community discussed necessary changes for the new Farm to Fork Strategy as well as practice examples and further results from StratKIT.

Changing practices is difficult, therefore the new online toolkit for sustainable public meals presents more than 50 tools for public procurers, caterers and policy makers to start the change in their municipality, their canteen, their organisation. As Rita Goralska-Walczak (Warsaw University of Life Sciences) puts it: “The toolkit is very diverse, inspirational and practical and will help overcome barriers with good examples.” All tools include a step-by step description for easier implementation. The approaches range from strategy development, training for kitchen professionals, checklists for procurers to mapping organic farmers.

The toolkit addresses eight main topics: Strategies, Public procurement, Communication and capacity building, Organic food, Food waste, Healthy and plant-based food, Resource efficiency, Working with farmers. All tools are provided in seven languages to increase accessibility. Some of the tools are based on already existing good practice examples from the Baltic Sea Region, others were developed and tested within the StratKIT project. For Aaro Lode (Baltic Restaurants Estonia AS) the toolkit means that his company will need to take more criteria into account, but “If we want to keep our company going, we need to look at sustainability.”

The presented examples and the enthusiasm made Alexandra Nikolakopoulou (European Commission, DG Health and Food Safety) optimistic for the future. She presented the links between the European Commission’s F2F strategy and the relevance of green procurement for it. From her point of view, an integrated approach considering all stakeholders is necessary and to create massive demand “to make sustainable food not a niche product, but the norm”. For the implementation of the F2F strategy. the definition of mandatory minimum criteria for sustainable public procurement, as well as a new European framework legislation for a sustainable food system will be key next steps.

More information on StratKit can be found here. To learn more about the Sustainable Public Meal Toolkit, click here.