After “fat tax” failures, back to basics to feed the planet sustainably? A large hospital in Denmark decided the best way to help Europeans eat better was to show them how. They started with a test kitchen that threw away scissors and anything else to do with pre-processed food.

“We were nervous that would be more expensive,” said Søren Westh, Co-owner and Creative Director of Enspire, who works as a consultant for Herlev Hospital. “But it wasn’t. Now the government is going to look very closely at other hospitals. It’s been a very big success.”

Westh was speaking at a Friends of Europe Café Crossfire Evening Debate on 11 June in Brussels, where participants discussed how best to make food healthier and more sustainable. And how regulation and so-called “fat taxes” can only go so far to change tastes and demand.

Herlev Hospital, situated in the Copenhagen suburbs, serves 1,200 meals a day and for the past two years has aimed to combine several of aims: healthy diet, food that people like and much less waste. In the test kitchen, all the cooking was done from scratch, using as much local produce as possible and taking into account seasonal availability.

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