One example of a carbon-negative animal-based protein is molluscs. These powerful creatures can take carbon out of the oceans through carbon sequestration. They also act as an ocean filter, removing phytoplanktons and sediments and cleaning the water as they respire. Substituting meat for shellfish protein into our weekly diets is a great way to reduce our impact on the planet. On average, an 8 oz steak causes 10kg of CO2, whereas mussels' average carbon footprint is around -0.2kg CO2.
Is Seasonal Foods Always The Best Choice?
Another common misconception is that eating fruits and vegetables in season is always better for the environment. However, this isn’t exactly accurate. Transportation of food by boat usually only adds a very small amount of CO2 to our atmosphere. For example bananas transported to the United Kingdom only produce around 0.1kg of CO2. However, transporting food by plane is bad for the planet. This drastically increases the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
“How can I tell if my food has been air freighted?” It often depends on when their sell-by date is. For example, Perishable fruit and vegetables, including blueberries, strawberries, asparagus and green beans, must be transported by plane before they spoil.
One of the best ways to buy fruits and vegetables with a low carbon footprint is to purchase from Odd Box. The French start-up had the genius idea of taking all the odd-looking fruit and vegetables that are often thrown away by farmers and selling them to consumers. Around 300 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables are thrown away annually in the UK. Odd boxes save all those “dinky, odd” looking fruit and vegetables from ending up as food waste. The company has already managed to save over 39,553 tonnes of carbon emissions. That’s enough energy to power 9,043 houses for a year.
Carbon Labelling is the next big thing in the food industry. In the ’80s and ’90s, consumers demanded transparency about their food's nutritional value. Now, consumers want transparency about the food's environmental impact. Carbon labelling helps consumers make informed buying decisions. Some food brands are already starting to incorporate carbon labelling, including Quorn and Oatly.
But the question remains, will carbon labels influence consumers buying decisions? In a recent study carried out by Palau Project, researchers found that 64% of consumers would like to be able to compare products' carbon footprints. Furthermore, Companies want to avoid having a “badly” rated product, so carbon footprint labels could be a great incentive to push companies to reformulate.
Emerging technology can also help provide consumers with more information regarding their food products. Palau app allows consumers to scan food products and reveals how much CO2 emissions this product has produced. It also breakdown the carbon emissions and shows you better food alternatives. They also provide the user with recipes that have a low CO2 impact. Apps like these can help consumers convert to a “climatarian diet”.
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