Sustainable eating: The role of food preservation

Developing technologies to help consumers along the way to delicious, healthy, and sustainable meals – this is Elena Breda’s focus as she heads up Global Food Preservation at Electrolux.

Electrolux works hard towards its ambition to make sustainable eating the preferred choice by 2030. So what does sustainable eating mean when it comes to food preservation?

“We know that one-third of all food is currently wasted. So first of all, it means helping consumers protect food quality, maintaining taste, texture, color and nutrition levels for longer,” explains Breda. Some Electrolux refrigerators have sealed crispers with automatic humidity controls and filters that help fruits and vegetables keep their vitamin content for up to 14 days. There are also chillers to keep meat and fish fresh for up to three times longer than in regular fridge compartments.

But the work of the food preservation team – alongside the food preparation team – goes beyond that to promote sustainable eating, Breda says. “We look at the overall process: starting from the ingredients you buy, how you choose them, how you preserve them, how you process them, how you cook them, and, after you enjoy your meal, if there is any left over, how you preserve the food for later consumption, keeping the maximum quality. Connected appliances will play an important role.” she explains

With approximately 80% of environmental impact coming from the product use phase, Breda explains plans to tackle that.  “We’ve made great strides in recent years in reducing energy use. For example, with refrigerators, we’re shifting more and more to ‘variable speed compressors’. They not only reduce energy use – they also reduce noise AND improve temperature stability, helping keep food fresh. That’s a win-win transition.”

Going beyond that, the team is committed to the Electrolux  target of using 50% recycled plastics in its appliances by 2030.

With all the work her team does, consumer experience is always top of mind. “We want to offer consumers the full experience they expect. You may not be as emotionally attached to your fridge as you are to your steam oven, for example, but we will ensure you have fantastic ingredients preserved in the optimal way in your fridge to help you on your way to a fantastic meal.

Top tip from Elena:

“When you need to preserve meat or fish for longer, chill them at a constant temperature of -2 degrees Celsius, either in the chillers or in the convertible compartments in our refrigerators to guarantee taste, texture, juiciness and protein content for up to 3 times longer than in regular fridge compartments. If you need to freeze meat, sous-vide it before freezing, for a delicious meal later on.”