Health Footprint Project

Publication of the full booklet and the new environmental indicators.

January 8, 2018

Health Footprint Project image

The idea: a sustainability standard for restaurants

1/3 of greenhouse gases originate from the production and consumption of food. At the same time food related diseases like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are on the rise in most countries.

Currently, different methods are used to identify healthy and nutritious meals. It’s hard to work out which one is most appropriate.

Based on these leading questions we focused on the following results:

Project goals

Systematic comparison of health concepts and approaches that are applied in research and by general health recommendations and labels.

Meta-analysis of existing literature on the climate, the environmental and our health.

Define the compatibility of different health approaches with climate goals by calculating the carbon and “health footprints” of 5000 meals.

Strategic collaboration with experts and stakeholders to stimulate debate, improve methodology and foster exchange and consensus on how to combine health and climate recommendations.

Develop user-friendly instruments for restaurants and the public, to optimize health and climate impact of their meals.

The health footprint project

The health footprint project invited to create a common ground for health action by summarizing current knowledge on different definitions of healthy diets and consequences of bad dietary habits, namely diet related disorders.

As a consequence, and a result of the project, Eaternity included additional Vita Score indicator into the Eaternity App to support the overall goal of reducing the food related climate impact.

At the Health Footprint Workshop 2016 held in Zürich we discussed with scientists, chefs, consumers and farmers the state of the knowledge in sciences and which indicators are crucial to assess environmental sustainability of food.

Together we formulated a message that combines the goals of both climate friendly and healthy nutrition, giving consumers and restaurants the opportunity to contribute to a sustainable and healthy future. We summarized and discussed the available knowledge of climate friendly and healthy nutrition. And provided guidelines for the restaurants and consumers showing the way towards climate friendly and healthy nutrition.

Based on the discussions and the scientific work conducted within this project we selected the Global Burden of Disease Study to develop an indicator for menus - the Vita Score. It was further discussed and reviewed by the advisory board, as well as further experts from the field of nutrition.

The Vita-Score together with the environmental footprints was tested against data from real restaurant, the conclusion was: “We are out of balance!”. Learn more about the Restaurant Analysis.

All main findings and conclusions are summarized in the Healthy Eating Guidelines and are broadly supported by experts and stakeholders.

All results of the project were put into practice at the impuls event “Smart Chefs”. Chefs presented delicious appetizers and showed that tasty meals can be healthy and sustainable at the same time.

Publications

  1. Full Results of the Health Footprint Project
  2. Vita Score Documentation - Whitepaper
  3. Healthy eating guidelines (Swiss only)



Project Updates

20 Dec 2017 – Smart Chefs Restaurant Analysis


The results are in - we are out of balance.


Wow, I never knew that eating balanced was such a challenge! I just assumed that eating sustainable was the greater one. Only around 6% of all meals served in restaurants that we analyzed fulfilled the criteria of having a good energy content and the right proportional distribution of protein, fat and starch. Off course, this is only one perspective of judging the healthiness of a meal, but it is a pretty basic one. Moreover, it is commonly recommended and applied by health and food professionals. Our findings are in line with the Swiss menuCH study which showed that most Swiss eat unbalanced, eating especially too much meat and fat.

Read the full update.

17 Dec 2017 – Smart Chefs Research Report


Organic and Health Research Results - Full Booklet Publication


In our report „Smart Chefs: health, climate and sustainability“ we summarize the findings on the conflicts and synergies between different environmental and health indicators. In short, reducing the carbon footprint of our diet also reduces the impact of important other environmental indicators, but potential conflicts exist with animal welfare, tropical deforestation and water scarcity.

Read the full update.

04 Oct 2017 – Impulsevent Smart Chefs


Ein kulinarischer Spielplatz für Entdecker


Am 28. September 2017 haben wir im Rahmen einer interaktiven Impuls-Veranstaltung über unsere neuesten Erkenntnisse in den Bereichen Klimaschutz, Gesundheit und umweltfreundliche Landwirtschaft informiert. Am Event konnten wir unsere 2 grössten Lieben mit euch teilen. Was uns verbindet bei Eaternity ist das gute Essen und die stichhaltigen Daten. Zwei Welten lassen wir zusammenkommen die eigentlich nicht getrennt sein sollten: die Wissenschaft und die Gastronomie.

Read the full update.

06 Jun 2017 – Health Footprint Update


Check the nutrients of your recipes in our App!


1/3 of greenhouse gases originate from the production and consumption of food. At the same time lifestyle illnesses like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are on the rise worldwide. Working with leading Swiss and international experts from institutions like Public Health Schweiz, The Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food and Barilla Food Centre, Eaternity aims to promote a culture in which health and sustainability are not in conflict.

Read the full update.

12 Oct 2015 – Migros Engagement Development Fund


Is a healthy, organic diet also good for the Earth’s climate?


The CO₂ calculator of the Zurich start-up Eaternity determines the ecological footprint of over 5000 Swiss meals. In future, its evaluation will also include the effect of an organic and healthy diet. A large-scale project financed by the Engagement Migros development fund that is backed by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and other partners is making this expansion possible. It will provide a ground-breaking standard for especially healthy and sustainable meals.

Read the full update.

Support

We express our deepest gratitude to the leading scientists in our advisory board that supported us throughout the project with valuable inputs and reviews.

We thank Migros Engagement Fund for funding the Health Footprint project.

Health Footprint Project: 1.5.2015-31.10.2017
Project organization: Aleksandra Aleksandrowicz, Eaternity – aaleksandrowicz@eaternity.ch | +41 79 560 74 60
Deputy: Judith Ellens, Eaternity – jellens@eaternity.ch
Feldeggstrasse 4, 8008 Zürich
Scientific partner: Global Burden of Disease Project
Made possible by: Engagement Migros development fund