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Field of research Nutrition

Reference projects

Energy- and climate-conscious nutrition in urban catering establishments

This project is intended to address new target groups and to develop concrete tools for municipal catering services (especially care homes, but also staff canteens) in the city of Zurich. Methodology for evaluating health aspects, environmental impact, and popularity will be developed and implemented. In order to be able to propose effective measures that can help promote a sustainable product range, a field study will be carried out in close collaboration with the relevant establishments. The end product will be a database of climate-friendly, popular, and healthy menus, a guide for implementation within the companies, and a report detailing the methods and results.

Agricultural Circular Economy

Swiss agriculture is resource-intensive and less resource-efficient than it could be. In the context of the global climate crisis and due to the limited availability of natural resources such as phosphorus, today's linear agricultural system needs to be transformed into a more sustainable circular system. By closing cycles, waste flows, energy consumption, and emissions can be minimised.

As part of this research project at the ZHAW Institute of Natural Resource Sciences, the current agricultural system is being analysed and the possibilities and potential for transformation to a closed-loop system are being investigated.


Lack of time, convenience, and poor cooking skills have led to an increased use of convenience products. The wide range of ready-to-eat meals available in supermarkets reflects this trend. Ready-meals are often negatively portrayed in the media: they are said to be unhealthier (containing fewer vitamins) and also have a greater impact on the environment (for example because of the packaging). However, few comprehensive studies have been carried out to investigate if there is truth behind these claims.

This project investigated how ready-made meals compare to freshly prepared meals. A comparison of freshly prepared (in household kitchens and canteens) and convenience (industrially produced) varieties of common Swiss dishes was carried out. Taste, nutritional content (using selected key substances), and environmental impact (using life cycle assessment) were considered.

Comparing the application of peat and its substitutes in gardening

Peat is a common substrate for plants and crops in gardening. However, the application of peat in gardening is related to emissions of the climate-damaging greenhouse gas CO2 and other environmental impacts. This study compares different alternatives for substrates in gardening, which not only cause less environmental impacts compared to peat but also have a secured supply in the future and positive social effects.

Project partner: Stiftung Gartenbau

Agrifood database

Life cycle inventory data for food and agricultural products

The Agrifood database is collection of life cycle inventory data for agricultural and food products. This database can be used to analyse the environmental impacts of processes in the agricultural and food value chain and to determine the corresponding environmental hotspots.

The Agrifood database includes life cycle inventories for food products, which are relevant for the human nutrition. This includes staple foods, different meats as well as dairy products, vegetables, fruit, nuts, oils and luxury products like chocolate and coffee.

The Agrifood database is based on the life cycle inventory data compiled by the research groups Geography of Food and Life Cycle Assessment at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with the Centre for Sustainability & Energy and Eaternity.

Academic partners:

Business partners: