Finland-based Viking Line has made a serious effort to reduce its food waste. In April 2019, the company joined forces with Winnow to undertake a project intended to reduce the food waste on its cruise vessel Mariella.

The majority of the meals served on the boat are prepared centrally in the same kitchen. For the duration of the project, the kitchen waste bins were equipped with scales to measure the actual amount of waste. With the help of computer software, the waste is categorized, weighed and recorded for statistical purposes. The computer-generated reports enable the monitoring of plate waste, trim waste and waste due to overproduction. In practice, for example, all the discarded food from the buffet lines is measured.

“We have managed to minimize food waste per passenger by an average of 40 per cent,” Janne Lindholm, restaurant manager for Viking Line, said in a statement announcing the findings. “This reduction was especially driven by an increase of efficiency in our kitchen procedures. We pay more attention to preparation amounts. As a concrete example, any potatoes boiled for lunches can also be used to prepare delicious side dishes for the dinner crowd.”

Viking Line restaurants are also developing, among other aspects, the presentation and serving size of their dishes as a means of reducing the plate waste. The buffet restaurant, for example, offers ready-made portions that enable passengers to select the exact amount that they want.

“None of the changes required us to compromise on the quality, freshness or availability of our food. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite,” Lindholm said. “When we utilize raw ingredients more efficiently, we avoid overproduction and there is more time left to focus on development work and customer service.”

The remaining food waste is used towards the production of biogas. In 2018, the biowaste collected from Viking XPRS, Viking Grace and Mariella was used to produce a total of 98,550 cubic meters of biogas, which equals, in terms of energy, altogether 111,300 litres of gasoline.

The waste reduction project on Mariella will continue. Based on the positive results, a similar project is in the planning for the cruise vessel Gabriella.