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Baltic cruise ships aim to cut food waste

One firm says it has already reduced the amount of food it tosses out, while two others say they plan to do the same.

Viking Linen kalabuffetpöytä
Viking Line onnistui vähentämään biojätettään tarkkailemalla miten ja mistä jätettä kertyi ja siirtymällä buffetpöydässä entistä enemmän annospaloihin. Image: Viking Line Abp

Consumers in Finland are increasingly considering ecological impacts when making their holiday travel plans.

In turn, the cruise firms that shuttle passengers to and from destinations around the Baltic Sea are aiming to reduce the amount of food they throw out.

Last autumn, Estonian-based cruise firm Tallink Silja announced it was working with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to cut down on the amount of wasted food on their ships.

Since Tallink Silja launched the effort last year, the firm's restaurant chief Jouni Pihkakorpi said the company had already managed to cut the amount of thrown-out food by about five percent.

"Attitudes have changed among the ships' guests and staff. Everyone wants to chip in," Pihakorpi said.

Buffet line changes

The eyes of hungry customers are often bigger than their stomachs, particularly while perusing the all-you-can-eat buffets at sea. Often, this results in a lot of uneaten food being left on plates and discarded.

In order to change that, many of the items on Tallink Silja's buffet lines were presented in individual portions, rather than piled high on platters.

"One concrete example how we've managed to reduce waste was to prepare smaller portions before we take the food to the buffet line, rather than putting out a ten-kilo plate of salmon," Pihakorpi said, noting that staff has received training on the efficient use of raw ingredients.

Restaurant workers were instructed how to get the most out of the foods they prepare and how to waste as little as possible, he explained.

Others get started

Tallink Silja's competitor Viking Line also intends to reduce food waste on its ships by 30 percent over the next year, according to the firm's communications chief Christa Grönlund.

"We have started cooperating with an international company that specialises in [reducing] food waste. We weigh and record all of the food we throw out, which makes it easier to react and change preparation amounts as needed," Grönlund said.

Cruise ferry line firm Finnlines has also made efforts to reduce the amount of food it throws out, according to Marjaana Saurila, the company's marketing communications manager.

"Meals are included in ticket prices on some of our routes and we have managed to sell many meals in advance, and that makes it easier to estimate the amount of food we need," Saurila said.

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