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Gothenburg solution facilitates climate-smart food choices

With the smart service CarbonAte consumers are able to make climate smart food choices. The idea – developed at the FoodTech startup CarbonCloud in Gothenbrug – is now spreading through Sweden.
“Foodstuffs make up one quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. If we are serious about reaching our climate goals, this is one of the areas where we can act,” says David Bryngelsson, CEO and co-founder of CarbonCloud.

David Bryngelsson with part of the team at CarbonCloud.

Imagine a lunch menu with these options: meat 1.2kg CO2e, fish 0.82 or veggie 0.55. Several Gothenburg restaurants now offer guests the possibility to pick their lunch based on the climate impact of each specific dish. The innovation is the result of several years of Chalmers-based research by David Bryngelsson and some of his colleagues. A technical physicist, he has a background in climate mitigation research, one focus area being foodstuffs. This gave rise to the idea to develop a product that would make it easier for consumers and producers to make climate smart food choices and reduce their climate impact. The goal is that all food we consume should carry a climate label, with a clear indication of its climate footprint.

The company initially developed a service for restaurants, enabling staff and guests to see the climate footprint of each individual dish. The service was tested at Chalmers Conference and Restaurants, and the weekly lunch menu on the company’s website includes information about the climate footprint of each course. The same information can be seen on displays inside the university restaurants. Very well received, the service – called CarbonAte – is now available in some 40 restaurants throughout Sweden.

The amount of interest in their service has further fuelled CarbonCloud’s ambitions. Its researchers, climate strategists and web developers are currently working on the company’s next major endeavour, CarbonData, which is geared towards the food industry. It is based on the same principle as the restaurant service – to make it easier for consumers to make climate smart choices and for producers to reduce their climate footprint.

“Our business idea is to package an advanced system for life-cycle analysis into a user-friendly web-service that the clients can easily manage. This will not only make the information easily accessible but also ensure that it is current and updated, which can otherwise be a problem for companies when performing business-related life-cycle analyses. Once you are done, the information may rapidly become outdated,” says David Bryngelsson.

The Chalmers-based startup is currently expanding, in the hope that their services will find a wider customer-base. David Bryngelsson is convinced there is an interest in services such as theirs.

“The food industry has a lot to gain from measuring their climate footprint. Consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, wanting to know the impact of the products they buy. The number of government regulations will also increase in the years to come. Keeping track of and being transparent about your emissions is a simple way to reduce your risk-taking, ensure customer loyalty and save money,” says David Bryngelsson.

Having a location in the vicinity of Chalmers in Gothenburg has been a key success factor to CarbonCloud. This enables a research-related business and makes it easier to secure the right talent. Another vital facilitator has been the existing institutional support framework in the area.

“It’s absolutely fantastic. As a startup company you depend on funding from authorities and organisations who support innovative initiatives for the future; players who will make sure that you succeed without looking to gain from it themselves. That is very stimulating,” says David Bryngelsson.

Facts: CarbonCloud
Gothenburg-based startup company which has developed services to measure the climate footprint of foodstuffs.
More information about CarbonCloud