By Matleena Autio
Food is one of the three most significant factors causing the environmental effects of consumption. Major part of the environmental effects of food come from the agricultural emissions. The impact of industrial processing of products, packaging or transportation is relatively low to the environmental effect of food.
The best way to reduce the carbon footprint of food is to favor ingredients that stress the environment as little as possible. Minimizing waste is another equally important action.
Focus on the big picture
Based on a quick search through the internet there are several tools available for calculating the carbon footprint of food. After looking into these calculators in more detail you quickly realize the biggest challenge related to this subject. There is no common standard for the factors to be included in the carbon footprint calculations. As a result, the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions for the same item might have big variation depending on the operator. Hence we need more peer reviewed studies on this subject.
The carbon footprint of food evaluated on a category level or on a diet level will act as a direction indicator. It will help us to evaluate the effects of our own actions. By changing part of the proteins into plant based proteins everyone of us can reduce the carbon footprint of our diet. Similarly, when planning a menu, you can evaluate the environmental effects of different types of items based on the category specific CO2e values. You can then make choices on items based on that information.
The most important is to make sure that the amount of food waste stays as low as possible. The emissions from producing food that ends up in wastage will stress our environment completely for no reason.
Environmental Friendly Food Is Good For Your Heart, As Well
You can easily moderate the environmental effects of your own diet by following the dietary guidelines. According to studies changing your diet according to the dietary guidelines would reduce the environmental effects of your diet significantly. This as such would reduce the environmental stress caused by food. For example, adding plant based proteins into your diet is both the healthy eating option and the better choice with regards the environment.
Bring Out the Carbon Footprint of Food to Your Customers, As Well
From a consumer’s point of view it would be great if I could compare the carbon footprint of the menu items in a restaurant. This would give me the possibility to choose a meal option with a smaller carbon footprint.
The unique CO2 Calculator in the JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System calculates the carbon footprint for recipes based on the portion size and on the CO2e values linked to ingredients. When planning recipes and menus, this provides you the opportunity to experiment the effect of different items on the carbon footprint of the whole. With the JAMIX MENU Service you can choose to publish the carbon footprint of food together with the menu to your customers, as well.
Taking the environmental aspect into consideration is not only a concrete way for a restaurant to take responsibility on our common environment. It is also an excellent way for standing out from the crowd and providing added value to your customers.
The carbon footprint of food prepared by a single consumer or a small restaurant may seem as tinkering compared to the emissions of big companies or states. However, even small changes in our everyday routines do have an impact when you continue performing them everyday in the long term. Even small streams have significance and when it comes to environmental issues everyone of us can act as the forerunner.