Every action has a cost. It is true for what we choose to eat. From farm to fork, food has its own costs both economically and environmentally.
Researchers have attempted to study the cost of producing food and comparing the dietary greenhouse gases produced. They find that meat production — from farm to fork — releases more climate-warming pollution than that released by plant-based food.
Their studies suggest that consumer food choices could help reduce greenhouse emissions. Changes in diet have been proposed as a way to reduce carbon emissions from the food system.
In a recent study, comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions generated was estimated. According to the study, Industries producing pork, beef, and other red meat products account for approximately 21%—the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions from household purchases, while fresh vegetables and melons; cheese industries; and butter and milk products account for 11%, 10%, and 7%, respectively.
Few households that spend more of their weekly food budget on beef, chicken, pork and other meats are generating more greenhouse gas emissions. The study suggests that when consumers shift to food choices that generate low greenhouse gas emissions could make a real difference in climate change.
In another study based in the UK, the dietary greenhouse gas of different diets was estimated. According to the study, the diet of someone whose meals included an average of 50 to 99 grams of meat each day would be responsible for the daily release of 5.6 kilograms of CO2 equivalents.
Vegans would contribute only 2.9 kg of CO2 equivalents, the researchers calculated. Indeed, those vegans had the lowest diet-linked greenhouse-gas emissions followed by vegetarians and people who ate seafood but no red meat or poultry.
“The more we think about what we’re eating, and food’s role in sustainability or in climate change, that’s a good thing.”- Danielle Nierenberg, co-founder of Food tank.