Research shows how 'green' our food is

Aug 30, 2013

New research from Cranfield University has analysed how 'green' some of our everyday food choices are, and their long term sustainability for UK diets.

The team of scientists compared three types of carbohydrates commonly eaten in Great Britain – British grown potatoes, Italian pasta and Indian basmati rice – for (GHGE) and . The research looked at the three foodstuffs, from the farm through to delivery to the retailer.

Basmati rice came in third place with the highest GHGEs and the biggest impact on water use, showing up to 100 times the potential impact on water compared to potatoes or pasta. This mainly results from the needed for paddy fields. Pasta and potatoes are almost equal, with roughly the same amount of water used and GHGEs emitted. Potatoes just manage to have the edge because of typical , but all three foodstuffs have different densities of macro and micronutrients, such as energy and vitamins.

Dr Adrian Williams, Cranfield University's lead researcher on the project, said: "We are excited about these results as they go a step further in measuring the environmental 'goodness' of food. Some studies only look at greenhouse gas emissions or water footprints. Our study combines a range of assessments to give a clearer picture of the environmental impact of food."

He added: "Because consumer preparation and cooking of these foods differs this affects the overall environmental impact. However, we hope that this method can be used to assess the relative impacts of other foods, so that we can move towards not just a healthier, but also greener diet."

Explore further: Shell agrees to start clean up of 2008 Niger Delta oil spill

More information: www.potato.org.uk/news/sustainability-debate-win-potatoes

Related Stories

Cooking tips to possibly lessen risk of arsenic in rice

Oct 08, 2012

Last month rice lovers got some bitter news. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Reports released studies showing "worrisome" levels of cancer-causing arsenic in many popular rices and rice products.

Impact of portion size on overeating is hard to overcome

Apr 16, 2013

People given large servings of food eat more than those given smaller servings, even after they have been taught about the impact of portion size on consumption, research from the University of New South Wales shows.

From farm to table, mealworms may be the next best food

Dec 19, 2012

Food enthusiasts interested in sustainable farm practices may soon have a new meat alternative: insects. Beetle larvae (called mealworms) farms produce more edible protein than traditional farms for chicken, pork, beef or ...

Recommended for you

Japan eyeing 26% greenhouse gas cut: officials

May 01, 2015

Japan is planning to pledge a 26 percent cut in its greenhouse gas emissions from 2013 levels, ahead of a global summit on climate change this year, officials said Friday.

Unforeseen dangers in a global food system

May 01, 2015

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's claim during a recent blizzard that food delivery bikes were not emergency vehicles caused a small disruption in the City's normally fast, abundant and inexpensive access ...

Emissions from natural gas wells may travel far downwind

May 01, 2015

Emissions linked to hydraulic fracturing, the method of drilling for natural gas commonly known as "fracking," can be detected hundreds of miles away in states that that forbid or strictly control the practice, ...

Research helps tackle mine tailings disasters

May 01, 2015

Research and technology transfer activities at The University of Western Australia are helping address a persistent and serious problem facing the mining industry worldwide.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.