Food production from ‘farm to fork’ accounts for almost a third of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions but while information about the nutritional and calorific content of the foods we eat is now widely available, data on the environmental impact of our meals are not. The food supply chain accounts for 31 per cent of European greenhouse gas emissions. Consumers could make a difference by eating more climate-friendly meals – meals with a lower total carbon footprint than the average — but this information is not readily available.
Swiss start-up Eaternity has developed software that enables restaurants to calculate the carbon footprint of the meals they serve, as well as helping food suppliers and caterers manage their environmental performance. Eaternity’s software evaluates factors that contribute to an ingredient’s carbon footprint including growing inputs, transportation and seasonality. Restaurants can flag up climate-friendly meals on their menus, giving their customers the option of environmentally better food choices based on transportation, seasonality and cultivation inputs.
Eaternity currently operates in 74 Swiss restaurants and has installed its software in 200 as of the end of 2017. By making the carbon footprint of restaurant meals visible on the menu, consumers can identify and choose ‘climate-friendly meals’ – those which have a carbon footprint of less than half the average of a standard meal. Eaternity estimates that its partner restaurants have served more than 25,000 climate-friendly meals to-date, representing savings of more than 21 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
EIT Climate-KIC’s Role
In 2015, Eaternity completed stage three of EIT Climate-KIC’s Swiss Accelerator programme and has been a Pathfinder project since March 2017 to scale up the tool to work for decentralized information gathering. The company is now itself an EIT Climate-KIC partner and is currently continuing innovation work to explore further opportunities in different types of restaurants beyond centrally run catering firms.
The Accelerator programme was integral to growing the whole business with masterclasses and network support.