Energy and environmental life cycle assessment of an institutionalcatering service: An Italian case study

Maria Anna Cusenza, Maurizio Cellura, Paola Caputo, Marina Mistretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Food production is recognised as one of the major drivers for global environmental pressure. In the last years,changes in consumption models result in an increasing population consuming food out of home that pose thecatering service sector at the centre of the European Union policies aimed at improving the environmental sustainabilityof the food sector. In this framework, better technical knowledge on the environmental impacts ofcatering service is essential in order to identify potential actions towards amore sustainable food sector. This articlepresents an environmental assessment of a school catering service operating in Italy and delivering approximately2,518,128 meals per year. Starting from primary data on the amount of each food consumed in thecatering service examined, we perform an environmental analysis of an equivalent meal ready to be consumedin the schools canteens by using the Life Cycle Assessment methodology consistent with ISO 14040 standard.The system boundaries include food and tableware production, food transport, food storage and cooking andwaste treatment. Due to a lack of primary data tableware production, food storage, cooking andwaste treatmentare modelled using literature data or models.The results of the analysis show that the food production phase is relevant to almost all assessed impact categories(contribution higher than 65%). The exception is represented by photochemical oxidation impact categoriesinwhich the larger impact is linked to the transportation phase. The environmental impacts associated to the tablewareproduction, food storage and cooking are relevant to global warming and global energy requirement(contributions higher than 7%).The scenario analysis of potential actions aimed at reducing the environmental impacts of the catering serviceshows that, to obtain amore sustainable food sector, strategiesmust be implemented along the entire food supplychain and considering a wide range of environmental impact categories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150-1160
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume657
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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