Norwegian technology reveals food waste in Europe: – Enormous cutting potential.

Too much food is thrown away. In Larvik, Nora Sørsdahl (29) sits with what she believes is part of the solution to a global problem. Sørsdahl is the top manager of the company Reen AS, which within a few years has established itself both in Norway and abroad.

– In Norway, several municipalities, hospitals, hotels and shopping centers have chosen to use our technology in their efforts to reduce food waste, says Nora Sørsdahl.

Nora Sørsdahl is the day-to-day manager of Reen AS and has been named one of Norway’s leading tech women. PHOTO: SINDRE THORESEN LØNNES / NRK

The woman from Oslo is now living in Larvik, where Reen has its head office. The company is also established in Sweden, Finland, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Industry agreement

In Norway, the government has introduced an industry agreement on reducing food waste. This will ensure that food waste in this country is cut by 50 per cent by 2030.

– In short, the industry agreement means that Norwegian companies undertake to reduce food waste at all stages of the food chain.

Both in Norway and globally, the potential for cuts is enormous, explains Sørsdahl. Scheen Matservice in Skien municipality is one of the actors that has used Reen’s technology. In the commercial kitchen, Jarle Sheikh Piil is in full swing putting out waste from today’s production. Here, the waste is weighed on a scale and recorded digitally before it is thrown away.

– Data on the screen gives us information about how much the waste weighs, how much it costs in kroner and øre and how much CO2 emissions it causes, explains unit manager Tore Baksaas at Scheen Matservice.

417.000 tons of food waste

According to the Reen boss, around 417,000 tonnes of food is thrown away in Norway every year. Baksaas acknowledges that they have great potential to cut more in Skien.

– After we adopted this technology around a year ago, we clearly see that too much food is being thrown away in our main kitchen. Scheen Matservice produces around 9,000 portions of food every week.

The food is delivered to nursing homes and home-dwelling recipients by the health and welfare services in the municipality.

– It is of course the employees who must physically ensure that less food is thrown away during production itself. The technology we use is a very good tool for getting a detailed and ongoing overview of where cuts should be made, says Baksaas.

Sørsdahl emphasizes that technology alone will not reduce food waste.

– Our solution provides an answer to where in the production chain one should take very specific measures to cut the amount of food waste.

Unit manager Tore Baksaas at Scheen Matservice. PHOTO: SINDRE THORESEN LØNNES / NRK

Huge savings opportunity

Baksaas believes that precisely this point will be carried out in practice at the various institutions in Skien municipality.

– So far we have only tested this technology in the main kitchen, but now it will also be used in two nursing homes. There, the cutting potential is even greater.

Scheen Matservice produces around 9,000 portions of food every week PHOTO: KEN WILLY WILHELMSEN / NRK

As the technology has not yet been installed, Baksaas does not have specific figures on how much food goes into the bin.

– What I can say is that it is far too much. Even before we start mapping food waste systematically, I can say that we have an ambition to cut it by 30 per cent in the relatively short term.

Leading star

A few months ago, Nora Sørsdahl was voted one of the leading stars by Dagens Næringsliv this year.

ODA network and Abelia have proclaimed her as one of Norway’s 50 leading tech women.

– It is clear that it is pleasant, but it is important for me to say that there are more of us on this, points out Sørsdahl, and points out that Reen has Norsk Gjenvinning as its main owner.

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