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LCM-based menus for LCM2023

Published on February 22, 2022

What does it take to host and feed a successful environmentally friendly conference? In the scope of organizing the Life Cycle Management (LCM) Conference a collaboration with food science students from the engineering school Junia ISA, Lille was done. Their aim was to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) covering all aspects of the conference, especially the food aspect to supply the most sustainable event possible.

LCM will have attendees from all over the globe. The first menu ideas considered that local French cuisine and the way the food items would be cooked, while making sure the menu appealed to the global audience.

The focus was on the three lunches needed for the conference: one plated and two buffets. The students were divided into four collaborating groups. One group developed a survey which was posted on networking platforms as well as emailed. The responses and comments showed that there was a preference for local and seasonal foods, and a preference for vegetarian dishes. To help prevent food waste the survey was used to decide a preference in plate size, the majority voted for medium size plates.

The responses and comments were used to develop a large list of possible meal ideas. LCAs were run on SimaPro and Karbon for all the menu ideas and the pastries for the coffee breaks. A LCA was run on the cutlery options, and recyclable single-use versus washable plates were also done. One group of students developed a global score by giving a value to the LCA eco-score, seasonality, and locality of the ingredients of a dish. This made it possible to color code the menu items based on their global score.

Based on the global scores the final group was able to narrow down to a smaller final menu list. The decision was made to make the day one’s plated lunch a vegan menu with the vegetarian possibility of adding cheese. The menu as seen in the image here focuses on local and seasonal ingredients. Day two and three are more flexitarian menus with a focus on vegetarian and vegan options and a couple of local meat options. The menu for coffee breaks was also colored coded based on the global score. The goal now is to propose the chosen menus to local catering companies to get quotes.

If you would like to see the student’s PowerPoint presentation, click the link here. You can also take the food menu survey and leave comments.