Sustainability; whether you consider it to be just a buzzword, a vital movement, or something in between, there’s no denying it’s had a huge impact on the marine sector in recent years. With CLIA announcing its commitment to reduce the rate of carbon emissions across the industry, Hurtigruten taking on the use of LNG fuel, and numerous cruise lines confirming they will be dropping all single-use plastic items within the next five to 10 years, the cruise industry has come leaps and bounds in terms of sustainability, and it’s certainly been a hot topic. But how can sustainability initiatives be implemented in the galley?
Speaking with Welbilt’s Dave Weightman, we asked “How can galley equipment and technology work to combat the negative effects of cruising on the environment?” to which he offered his insights as Global Key Accounts Manager at one of the biggest suppliers of galley equipment worldwide.
“The environment is fast becoming one of the top priorities when it comes to marine operations, and with this comes a variety of considerations which operators must take into account when purchasing key pieces of galley equipment. With recent technological advancements across Welbilt’s range of brands, marine caterers can now significantly improve their sustainability across all catering operations.”
So what would Dave recommend galley chefs and designers incorporate in order to make the process even more sustainable at sea?
“Designed to be the perfect galley cooking solution, the Convotherm 4 easyTouch® Marine promotes energy efficiency, alongside excellent cooking quality, thanks to its patented Advanced Closed System+. This system, specifically designed for Convotherm combi ovens, works like a lid on a saucepan, keeping heat and moisture in, to enable the temperature to rise rapidly. As more of the heat is kept in the unit, it uses less power and water, thus greatly improving energy efficiency, whilst also reducing operating costs. Likewise, the eco-cooking mode which is ideal for food with long cooking times such as large roasting joints can be activated at temperatures as low as 30°C, for convection and combi-steam cooking. This provides a remarkable energy-saving and is perfect for quieter service times where the combi steamer is not required to function at maximum output.”
More and more of an emphasis is being placed on cruise lines to cater to the growingly-conscious consumer. Among its four major food trends for 2019, Bidfood identified sustainability as a key factor for consumers when dining out, stating: “After Blue Planet II, the world was shocked at the state of the oceans, this has highlighted all forms of waste in the world. Coffee cups and straws are heavily highlighted in this trend, reusable and compostable are key as we come to realize the impact they have on our world. In a starving world, it is wrong that we are throwing away food that is perfectly usable, with heads held in shame we are looking for ways to use everything in a kitchen.”
As we know, food waste is a common sin committed by the cruise industry, with all-you-can-eat buffets and specialty dining galore, it’s hard not to indulge in wastefulness when dining on a cruise. Reducing food waste is a massive concern for the cruise industry, hence so many lines have introduced their own initiatives, encouraging guests to taste, not waste. Unfortunately, relying on the passenger’s discretion is simply not enough when it comes to reducing food waste; cruise lines must incorporate special galley equipment and technologies in order to effectively combat the negative environmental impacts. In 2017 two of the Carnival Corporation brands started a pilot program using equipment to digest food waste prior to discharge at sea. This technology resulted in a significant reduction of food waste volumes across the brands’ fleets.
Exhibiting at Marine Catering Expo, RATIONAL, a leading provider in catering equipment, has developed its own unique way to combat sustainability issues, minimizing the amount of energy required aboard a cruise ship. Director International Key Account Marine, Mikael Eliasson comments, “Sustainability is very important to us. That’s another reason why we developed the RATIONAL kitchen concept. You will see by using the SelfCookingCenter® and the VarioCookingCenter® in combination […] energy is only consumed if it is actually required. This reduces your electricity consumption by up to 30%.”
Another approach to sustainability focuses on ethically and environmentally-sourced food. For example, both Cunard Line and Holland America Line only serve seafood that has been responsibly and sustainably sourced. Locally sourced produce is also proving popular, with Royal Caribbean’s Managing Director for Australia and NZ commenting, “We have made a commitment to sourcing 90% of our food locally, and to have 100% cage-free eggs by 2022". Other cruise operators, such as Aurora Expeditions, have made changes to the food they serve onboard, doing away with individually-wrapped portions of butter, jam, and yogurt.
Additionally, the movement toward plant-based diets has been embraced by cruise operators across the globe, creating meals based around vegetables and legumes, as opposed to meat-heavy dishes. As meat production requires much more water than vegetables, (1kg of meat uses between 5,000-20,000 liters of water according to the IME, whereas 1kg of wheat requires just 500-4,000 liters), creating plant-based dishes is a great step towards more sustainable cruising, as well as combating issues regarding the lack of fresh water on cruise ships.
Stefania Lallai, Sustainability and External Relations Director at Costa Cruises on sustainability: “[Costa Cruises has] switch[ed] animal proteins to vegetable proteins by introducing legumes to our buffet offer. New products and ingredients such as seeds and cereals are also part of the buffet offer. The team also worked on the proximity and seasonal gastronomic offer by implementing regional and local Italian recipes.”
Often labeled as the “greenest” ocean cruise line, Costa Cruises became the first travel company to sign on to the Milan Protocol in May 2015, with aims of reducing onboard food waste fleetwide, as well as embracing other broader initiatives. In February 2017, Costa Cruises collaborated with galley equipment suppliers Winnow in order to monitor and prevent food waste onboard their vessels. Using modern tracking technologies, Costa Cruises were able to reduce food waste across the board, which is certainly good news for the line, as it’s pledged to reduce food waste by 50% fleetwide by 2020 as part of the 4GOODFOOD program.
As the movement towards a greener way of cruising gains further momentum in 2019, cruise operators are being forced to hold themselves accountable for the negative environmental impact they produce, resulting in a more positive way to cruise for both the consumer and the planet.
Utilizing new and innovative technologies is essential in combating food waste onboard, but what green tech can we expect to emerge in the next 10 years or so?