Sustainable food in Malmö

The city of Malmö has established some very ambitious targets concerning the environment and sustainability - also within the food issues.

Malmö’s journey to more climate friendly meals

The city of Malmö purchases about 8,500 tons of food every year (worth 24 M€), serving 65,000 lunches a day. Food is prepared and served in pre-schools, schools and elderly care homes, free of charge.

Thanks to extensive teamwork, dedicated co-workers and clear and ambitious goals, the City of Malmö is best in Sweden at serving organic and climate friendly meals.

Malmö’s Policy for Sustainable Development and Food was approved by the City council in 2010. The main aims of the policy included serving healthy food of a high quality that is prepared by knowledgeable and competent staff. The food procured should be sustainable and climate friendly.

The policy had two ambitious environmental goals: First, all food served in Malmö should be organic by 2020; second, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions relating to food procurement by 40 % by 2020 (from 2002 level). The city of Malmö realised, when the goals were set, that they would be challenging, but decided to shoot for the stars and see how far we could reach.

Today we are serving meals that are 70 % organic, the national goal for public kitchens is 60 % organic food by 2030, the current national level is about 40 %, so Malmö is way ahead of the Swedish average. We have also reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 30 % to a level of 1.49 kg CO2 e/kg purchased food. This makes Malmö the best municipality in Sweden when it comes to serving organic, climate smart food.

How have we come this far?

We have used education and training as important tools to communicate how food and climate are connected and how to reduce food’s impact on the climate. We have held training courses for employees at all levels, on subjects such as sustainable food, food in education, climate change, and nutrition as well as practical cookery courses

Working together with the different departments within the city has been key to our success. Having everyone on board with the work has helped to ensure that the reasoning behind the goals is understood and there is less resistance to change. The city of Malmö has made great changes in the meals that are served: In schools, pupils are served meat once or twice a week, fish once or twice and vegetarian at least twice a week, which follows the nutritional recommendations of the Swedish Food Agency.

We have not only cooperated with colleagues within the city, but also actors outside of the city. We have had close contact with our suppliers who have helped us reach our goals by sourcing high quality plant-based options as well as improving the variety of organic products that are in their range.

Most of the goals have been partly reached but there are still challenges to overcome. We need to reduce our food waste more; we would like to have closer cooperation with schools; we need to work harder to ensure acceptance of more plant-based meals. The city of Malmö continues to work towards a sustainable Malmö with healthy, climate friendly food served in our pre-schools, schools and care homes.

Policy for sustainable development and food

The goal of the policy was that all food purchased should be organic and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from food procurement should be reduced by 40 % by 2020, compared to the 2002 level, which was 13 360 ton CO2-equivalent.

With the policy we wanted to:

  • Contribute to a sustainable Malmö with healthy citizens.
  • Strengthen the importance of food in the City of Malmö´s own operations to increase the attractiveness of food.
  • Work towards 100% sustainable purchasing in the City of Malmö.
  • Ensure that the City of Malmö leads from the front and only serves sustainable and safe food when serving food at official functions and representation.

Sustainable food in Malmö's schools and pre schools

Watch the movies to learn more about the City of Malmö's ambitions to serve good, healthy and climate friendly food to all children:

Working with others

The city of Malmö is regularly involved in national and international projects. Two recent international projects are linked below:

Read more
Case study: Sustainable food for thought in Malmö (pdf, 119.5 kB)