Earlier this week the BBC’s ‘future’ segment focused on a 2015 article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition entitled ‘Energy and nutrient density of foods in relation of their carbon footprint’. The article compared two alternative nutrients profile models to calculate the overall carbon foot print of various foods. One model calculated the carbon food print based on the weight of the food and the other based on a 100-kcal intake.
The results of the test based on kcal intake proved that especially bread showed a significant smaller carbon footprint than any other products including dairy products, meats, eggs, and even frozen and processed vegetable and fruits.
Measures of environmental sustainability of various kinds of food include the use of land, water, and energy resources as well as the protection of the ecosystem. Overall, the impact of each food is based on the estimated greenhouse gas emission (GHGEs) throughout the life-cycle of the foods. Major influences of GHGEs are food processing, transport, distribution, and storage as well as food preparation, waste and disposal. It is estimated that overall agriculture and food industries contribute 15% – 30% of greenhouse gases per year.
Today more than ever consumers have more access to information, more access to new products and more control over demand than ever before. With this in mind when tackling today’s environmental issues it is important to make the right choices in the grocery store. After carbohydrates have hit hard times in the last years due to over-exhausted health trends, we cannot wait for this important crop to make a humble comeback.