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Open AccessArticle

Optimizing School Food Supply: Integrating Environmental, Health, Economic, and Cultural Dimensions of Diet Sustainability with Linear Programming

1
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
2
Centre for Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Stockholm County Council, 112 21 Stockholm, Sweden
3
The National Food Agency, Uppsala, Sweden and Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, Institute of Medicine, Gothenburg University, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
4
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, 420 29 Gothenburg, Sweden
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MOISA, INRA, Univ Montpellier, CIHEAM-IAMM, CIRAD, Montpellier SupAgro, 34060 Montpellier, France
6
Global Nutrition and Health, University College Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(17), 3019; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173019
Received: 6 July 2019 / Revised: 12 August 2019 / Accepted: 19 August 2019 / Published: 21 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Climate Change and Health)
There is great potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) from public-sector meals. This paper aimed to develop a strategy for reducing GHGE in the Swedish school food supply while ensuring nutritional adequacy, affordability, and cultural acceptability. Amounts, prices and GHGE-values for all foods and drinks supplied to three schools over one year were gathered. The amounts were optimized by linear programming. Four nutritionally adequate models were developed: Model 1 minimized GHGE while constraining the relative deviation (RD) from the observed food supply, Model 2 minimized total RD while imposing stepwise GHGE reductions, Model 3 additionally constrained RD for individual foods to an upper and lower limit, and Model 4 further controlled how pair-wise ratios of 15 food groups could deviate. Models 1 and 2 reduced GHGE by up to 95% but omitted entire food categories or increased the supply of some individual foods by more than 800% and were deemed unfeasible. Model 3 reduced GHGE by up to 60%, excluded no foods, avoided high RDs of individual foods, but resulted in large changes in food-group ratios. Model 4 limited the changes in food-group ratios but resulted in a higher number of foods deviating from the observed supply and limited the potential of reducing GHGE in one school to 20%. Cost was reduced in almost all solutions. An omnivorous, nutritionally adequate, and affordable school food supply with considerably lower GHGE is achievable with moderate changes to the observed food supply; i.e., with Models 3 and 4. Trade-offs will always have to be made between achieving GHGE reductions and preserving similarity to the current supply. View Full-Text
Keywords: nutrition; children; greenhouse gas emissions; school meals; sustainability; Agenda 2030 nutrition; children; greenhouse gas emissions; school meals; sustainability; Agenda 2030
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Eustachio Colombo, P.; Patterson, E.; Schäfer Elinder, L.; Lindroos, A.K.; Sonesson, U.; Darmon, N.; Parlesak, A. Optimizing School Food Supply: Integrating Environmental, Health, Economic, and Cultural Dimensions of Diet Sustainability with Linear Programming. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3019.

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