65% less food waste and 10% more dietary energy for patients. These were among the most surprising results when a department at Rigshospitalet, the national hospital in Copenhagen, tested a new system for serving dinners, where the food was prepared in Torus Pak trays from Nemco.
Bent Andreasen, a self-employed business development manager and former head of the unit for food and drink at Rigshospitalet, was the main initiator of the project, which was part of his MBA dissertation.
”We investigated the effects of replacing the normal evening meal, where the food is picked up with a buffet trolley, with portion-based food adapted to the individual patient’s wishes,” explains Bent Andreasen.
To the patients’ delight, they were able to order their food on an iPad up to an hour before dinnertime, and their personal meal was brought to the department just before the food was served. All dishes were weighed before being heated and served. The plate, soup bowl or packaging from dessert was weighed again after the patients had finished eating.
According to a survey carried out among the patients, it was especially important for them that they were given a choice between dishes and portion sizes. This made them more satisfied with the evening meals – even though the food was the same.
The food was supplemented with extra protein, so even though some of the patients asked for smaller portions, the average dietary energy supply per patient increased by 10% during the trial period.
”In addition, a 65% reduction in food waste was recorded. This is a huge figure, both from a financial and environmental point of view. I’m surprised that, despite these results, one of the country’s largest and most influential kitchens doesn’t want to test the results on a larger scale,” says Bent Andreasen.
According to Bent Andreasen, the same system has been used for many years at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm and Oslo University Hospital, with good results.
Nemco supported the project by supplying Torus Pak trays for serving portions, as well as a Sealpac packing machine.
The functional Torus Pak trays can be used in all professional large kitchens, and for both frozen and chilled food. The food is heated in a microwave or by steaming.
”Now the system has been tested in a department at Rigshospitalet. The trial shows that the system can have benefits not only at Rigshospitalet but also at all other hospitals in Denmark. It will also be relevant for the large kitchens that provide food for elderly people living in their own homes. The system could also be used in large canteens in private companies,” concludes Bent Andreasen.
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