UMBESA - Sustainable Menu

UMBESA - Implementation of sustainability in commercial kitchens with a special emphasis on biological, regional, seasonal food, freshly prepared meals and optimised meat portions
2012 - 2014
Resource Management Agency (RMA)
University of Applied Sciences of the WKW, Vienna
University of South Bohemia
Professional School Jihlava
Unterstützt durch: 
European Territorial Co-operation AT-CZ 2007-2013
Office of the government of Upper Austria
Municipal Department 22 - Environmental Protection in Vienna (MA 22)
Ministry of National Defence and Sport
The Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management

The goal of the EU funded project UMBESA (ETZ program) is to select particular meals and foods in the participating commercial kitchens, which are optimised towards sustainability. A sustainable menu is characterized by the consideration of these criteria:

  • freshly cooked instead of convenient
  • regional food
  • seasonal food
  • biological quality
  • less meat

To check the feasibility of sustainable meals in commercial kitchens, test-cookings are realised. Moreover, there is a detailed evaluation of the meals regarding economy, ecology and nutrition physiology done. The benefit of the menu optimisation: cost savings and reduction of energy consumption as well as the reduction of CO2 emissions of the kitchens.

In addition to these aspects, a healthy and sustainable food is offered to the consumers. Based on an extensive analysis of the current status and identification of optimisation potentials, each kitchen has it’s own priorities in the implementation of a sustainable menu. The kitchen stuff prepares new meals and recipes for sustainable meals and subsitute “non-sustainable” meals, which already are offered. The range of optimised meals is therefore very large:

  • Increasing of BIO-meals: BIO pasta and BIO zucchini sauce instead of the convenient alternative, BIO roast with BIO tagliatelle instead of the convenient alternative
  • Reduction of meals with meat: lasagne with vegetables instead of lasagne with meat, vegetarian moussaka instead of potatoe-smoked meat-bake, soy strips instead of pork strips
  • Freshly cooked instead of convenience: stuffed zucchini freshly cooked instead of convenient, napkin dumplings freshly cooked instead of convenient, vegetable-curd-pattie freshly cooked instead of vegetable schnitzel convenient


The analysis of the freshly cooked vegetable-curd-pattie shows following benefits compared to the convenient vegetable schnitzel:

  • 51 % less costs
  • 87 % higher bio-quota
  • 94 % higher quota of fresh, non-processed food
  • 85 % of the ingredients are produced in Austria, the origin of the ingredients of the convenient alternative is not known.

Although the labor costs of the freshly cooked alternative are 58 % higher compared to the convenient meal, and the bio-quota has been increased by 87 %, the kitchen achieved significant cost savings with this optimised meal.

Conclusion: freshly cooked does pay!


Futher information about the project at:

Projekt UMBESA - Layman´s report (Vers 1.0).pdf2.26 MB