Eating seasonal foods means choosing to buy produce during the period of the year in which they are available, and less during the other seasons.
The reason for adhering to this practice is that products that are in demand outside of their rightful season entail a significantly higher impact on the climate. This is often due to the fact that they are transported from other countries or that they are grown in high energy consumption greenhouses in which the season is extended.
The first step to becoming climate smart may be to create seasonal menus ahead of a food procurement round – perhaps apples could be replaced with another fruit during certain periods, or the percentage of meals with root vegetables could increase during the winter. Small modifications to a menu can do a great deal for the environment.
Reduce the share of frozen goods
Re-evaluating the share of frozen goods that are procured is also favourable from an environmental perspective. Far more energy is consumed when frozen food is transported in freezers, compared with the transportation of fresh food in coolers.
Follow a seasonal calendar
Buying more produce when it is in season, meaning that the crops require less heating or they are grown outdoors or can be stored for long periods, and less when it isn’t in season, can save energy, transportation and money. There is no collective seasonal calendar for when different goods are in season during different periods in the EU or in the different regions of Sweden. The EU recommends that every contracting authority compile their own seasonal calendar to facilitate the selection of food according to season in each authority’s own region of Europe. The Swedish Consumer Agency advocates the use of seasonal food and the Swedish National Food Agency addresses the significance of seasonal food in its reference report to the Environmentally smart food choices guide.
Read more about seasonal food procurement:
EU’s pamphlet on buying food and catering services (in Swedish)
The Swedish National Food Agency