What is seitan? And what does tempeh taste like? Gastronomes from Berlin canteens were able to find out about low-calorie and nutrient-rich meat substitutes from Asia at a tasting session. This took place as part of the “KlimaKitchen” project sponsored by the Climate Change Center (CCC) Berlin Brandenburg, in which five canteens from the two German states are participating.
The aim of the first meeting of the project participants was to exchange experiences with vegetarian and vegan dishes, requirements for meat alternatives and logistical aspects of supply. The research project is being carried out by the Center for Technology and Society (ZTG) of the Technical University of Berlin with the Fördergemeinschaft Ökologischer Landbau Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. (FÖL). Five institutions of communal catering with different target groups (student union Frankfurt/Oder, canteen of the Berlin daily newspaper taz, company restaurant of Siemens Energy, daycare and school caterer Zwergenkantine, GLS Klinikum Barnim) are involved as cooperation partners, which want to expand their range of plant-based meals and offer their guests meat alternatives such as tempeh and seitan. The tempeh and seitan products come from two regional processing companies that produce organic quality plant-based meat substitutes.
The “KlimaKitchen” project supports Berlin and Brandenburg canteens and caterers in offering attractive plant-based alternatives to meat dishes. The aim is to increase the proportion of plant-based dishes in communal catering and thus contribute to healthy, environmentally friendly and socially acceptable nutrition. “KlimaKitchen” builds on practice-theoretical approaches and findings according to which established dietary habits can be facilitated in particular by easy access to appropriate nutritional environments. Canteens or dining halls at schools or universities represent nutrition environments through which many different population groups can be reached.
The acceptance of different target groups for meat alternatives will be investigated in the participating facilities. In addition, the potential CO2 savings that can be achieved by replacing meat dishes will be determined for selected dishes.
The project thus addresses an extremely climate-relevant issue – reducing the supply and consumption of meat in communal catering – and imparts the relevant skills for the increased use of plant-based meat alternatives. It also stimulates the development of regional organic value chains for the production of raw materials for meat substitutes and promotes cooperation between the actors along the value chains (farmers, processors, canteens, and other stakeholders).
What are the next steps in the project?
In preceding projects, the transfer of practical know-how along the value chain and the exchange of experience between stakeholders have proven to be important. Therefore, workshops for testing new recipes will be held as part of the project. In addition, the exchange will be supported by a common online recipe pool, through which recipes and experience reports will be exchanged.
From May/June 2023, campaign weeks with tempeh and seitan dishes will take place in the participating communal catering facilities. These will be accompanied by communication materials, information booths and tastings for guests and evaluated by guest surveys and interviews with kitchen staff. In cooperation with a scientific advisory board (Institute for Public Health of the Charité, Sustainable Engineering Department of the Technical University of Berlin, ifeu Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg), the potential for saving climate gases will be estimated using typical dishes of the participating canteens and caterers as examples.
The following research questions are addressed in the project:
– What challenges arise in establishing a regional value chain for plant-based meat substitutes from organic farming and how can they be met?
– What is the acceptance of plant-based meat substitutes among guest groups with different socio-demographic backgrounds and through which communication measures can it be increased?
– How can the potential for CO2 savings in the participating mass catering facilities be estimated by increasing the offer of dishes with meat alternatives for selected dishes?
The results of the project will be shared through practical media and events, as well as through contributions at scientific conferences.
More information at: https://www.tu.berlin/ztg/forschung/projekte/laufende-projekte/klimakitchen