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Food at Scott Base

You need a lot of energy to stay warm and healthy in Antarctica, so eating well and often is important! Enough food for a whole year arrives by ship in January. Scott Base has a full-time chef and a large kitchen and dining area. The food is always very delicious and wholesome. The biggest difference to the food that you eat at home is that during the winter there aren’t a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. For much of the year most food is either frozen, dried, or tinned.

Food in the field

When scientists work out in the field they need food that is very high in energy, small in bulk, low in weight, and quick to prepare. This means that the food tends to be high fat (which has the highest amount of energy for weight) and dehydrated. There are also limitations on what you can take in the field, especially if working near animals like penguins. Chicken is not allowed near penguin colonies because it could spread disease in penguins. Fresh water is one thing that is plentiful in Antarctica even if it does happen to be frozen. Lots of fuel is needed to melt snow and ice to make drinking water.

Waste management

All food and food contaminated wastes at Scott Base are returned to New Zealand for disposal. Any foods that create waste such as meat on bones, corn on cobs are not brought to Antarctica. All staff at Scott Base are reminded to only put on their plate what they can eat so they don’t throw food away. Supplies for Scott Base are carefully chosen and packed to minimise waste, but some packing waste is always generated, for example cans and boxes. Card, paper, glass, and aluminium and tin cans are separated for recycling back in Christchurch. All organic waste (eg food scraps) are returned to New Zealand for sterilisation and deep burial in a landfill. 

More information

Listen to the below audio file to find out more about food: