Evaluating the environmental impact of various dietary patterns combined with different food production systems. Eur J Clin Nutr

San Bortolo Hospital, Vicenza, Veneto, Italy
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.71). 03/2007; 61(2):279-86. DOI: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602522
Source: PubMed


OBJECTIVE: Recent studies support the hypothesis that plant-based diets are environmentally better than meat-based diets. This study aims to further explore this topic and to compare different environmental impacts resulting from different dietary patterns (omnivorous, vegetarian, vegan) and methods of production (conventional farming and organic agriculture). DESIGN: Three weekly balanced diets, equivalent to one another for energetic and nutrient content, have been planned: an omnivorous one, a vegetarian one and a vegan one. For each one, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method has been applied in order to calculate the environmental impact, expressed in 'points'. INTERVENTIONS: The software we selected to carry out the Inventory Analysis and the Impact Assessment is SimaPro5. The Assessment phase has been conducted using Ecoindicator 99, a damage-oriented method, which analyses the impact according to three large damage categories, each of them subsuming various impact categories.

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    • "The data is usually scaled to one mass or volumetric unit. On the other hand, food and beverage consumption as a whole has been analyzed either on the basis of averages on capita or country levels (Tukker et al. 2006; Muñoz et al. 2010; Xue and Landis 2010; Meier and Christen 2012) or specific dietary plans (Carlsson-Kanyama et al. 2003; Baroni et al. 2007). Some studies apply the concept of households for the scope of the analysis, as households form the smallest organizational units in society. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose Food consumption is one of the main drivers of environmental impacts. To develop meaningful strategies for the reduction of impacts, food consumption patterns need to be understood on the household level, as purchasing decisions are taken on this level. The goals of this study were to develop a model that estimates food demand and environmental impact as a function of household characteristics, to assess variability between households, and to provide a basis for the development of consumer-targeted political interventions. We titled the study BFoodPrints of households,^ as we assessed food consumption in terms of carbon footprint (in analogy to (Stoessel et al. Environ Sci Technol 46(6):3253– 3262 2012)). Methods We used data from the Swiss household budget survey and applied multiple linear regressions based on generalized linear models to quantify food and beverage demand of individual households. Seven household characteristics, such as size, income, and educational level, served as input variables for the regressions. In a case study, food and beverage demand of 3238 individual households of a Swiss municipality was environmentally assessed with life cycle assessment , and scenarios for different reduction strategies were evaluated. Results and discussion We found that the carbon footprints of in-home food consumption per household member and year vary from 0.08 t CO 2 eq. to 5 t CO 2 eq. with a median value of 1 t CO 2 eq. This variability is significantly smaller than the carbon footprint variability for the consumption areas of housing and mobility, where 25 % of the people are responsible for 50 % of the environmental impacts. Differences between high-and low-impact households can be primarily explained by differences in meat and dairy consumption. Conclusions This paper presents a model for quantifying food demand and impacts on a household level in Switzerland and represents a basis for developing targeted political measures to mitigate food consumption impacts. Household budget data is also available for many other countries, and the methods presented in this paper could therefore also be applied to other geographical regions.
    The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 07/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11367-015-0924-5 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    • "Key in this strategy is that products in unsustainable product categories are substituted by products in other product categories that have a lower sustainability impact (or not substituted at all, leading to a reduction in total food intake). Especially animal-based products (meat and dairy) are resourceintensive and therefore from a sustainability perspective a broad consensus exists about the benefits of less animal-based and more plant-based diets (Baroni et al., 2007; Garnett, 2011; Gezondheidsraad, 2011; Pimentel & Pimentel, 2003; Tilman & Clark, 2014; Tukker & Jansen, 2006; Tukker et al., 2011; Westhoek et al., 2011). The (non)consumption of meat takes a special position in food debates and receives growing attention in contemporary literature (e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: In order to address sustainability problems in the food domain, food consumption needs to be taken into account. The present paper empirically explores different types of sustainable food behaviors. A distinction between sustainable product choices and curtailment behavior has been investigated empirically and predictors of the two types of behavior have been identified. Respondents were classified into four segments based on their sustainable food behaviors: unsustainers, curtailers, product-oriented consumers, and sustainers. Significant differences between the segments were found with regard to food choice motives, personal and social norms, food involvement, subjective knowledge on sustainable food, ability to judge how sustainably a product has been produced and socio-demographics. It is concluded that distinguishing between behavioral strategies towards sustainable food consumption is important as consumer segments can be identified that differ both in their level of sustainable food consumption and in the type of behavior they employ. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Appetite 04/2015; 91. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2015.04.055 · 2.69 Impact Factor
    • "Ultimately, with a few exceptions, such as being transported by airplane, plantbased foods have lower emissions per kg of protein than foods derived from either monogastric animals or ruminants (Carlsson-Kanyama & González, 2009; González et al., 2011). Baroni et al. (2007), for example, found that vegan diets held substantially reduced climate impacts relative to omnivorous diets. Thus, from a purely climate change mitigation perspective, the decision to promote any meat consumption stands out as worthy of further analysis. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the factors shaping non-governmental organization (NGO) messaging decisions on how meat consumption should be altered in light of climate change. In particular, we sought to understand the relative absence of messages promoting meat-free diets and the decision of some NGOs to pair meat reduction messages with messages encouraging consumers to switch to meat from ruminant grass-fed animals. Interviews were conducted with 27 staff members from environmental, food-focused, and animal protection NGOs from the USA, Canada, and Sweden. While strategic considerations consistently led to the use of modest messages for meat reduction, NGO missions were also key to shaping the specifics of messaging goals. The relatively low personal comfort levels that some NGO staffers held toward meat-free diets also led to the use of more modest requests for meat reduction. Findings highlight the complex nature of the factors underlying the environmental communication messages of NGOs.
    Environmental Communication A Journal of Nature and Culture 12/2014; DOI:10.1080/17524032.2014.981561 · 0.70 Impact Factor
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