What’s Your Food’s Carbon Footprint?

Is a bowl of chips better for the environment than chicken nuggets? Are you speeding up climate change by ordering a steak over a classic Italian carbonara?

You might not have realised it, but some foods have a bigger impact on the environment than others. And just like how you use fuel and energy, the food you eat can contribute to your overall carbon footprint.

But that’s not to say you can’t eat certain things. By being more mindful of the impact of certain foods, you can tuck into your favourites without feeling guilty.

Here, we’ll show you how to count your food’s carbon footprint, so you can work out the impact of your diet.

How do I work out how sustainable my diet is?

If you’re conscious of what you consume, counting your food’s carbon footprint is a great way to work out how sustainable your diet really is.

The easiest way to calculate your food’s carbon footprint is with the BBC’s Climate Change Food Calculator. Just enter your favourite meals to see interesting stats like water consumption and how many miles you’d need to drive to produce the same emissions.

For example, if avocado on toast is your go-to brekkie and you have it twice a week, this takes over 3,500 litres of water – the equivalent of having an eight-minute shower every week for a year.

Not only that, but it would also add 15 kilos to your annual greenhouse gas emissions, which is the same as driving nearly 40 miles. Crazy, right?

Which foods have the highest carbon footprint?

The reality is some of our favourite foods aren’t exactly good news for the planet. Here’s a look at the foods with the biggest carbon footprint…

So, whether you’re partial to a juicy steak, a lamb dinner or a cheeky bar of chocolate, this could be impacting your carbon footprint more than you realise.

What can you do about it? A great place to start is cutting down on meat and switching to a more plant-based diet.

That doesn’t mean you have to go full-on vegetarian. But swapping out the likes of meat and fish in place of plant-based foods a couple of times a week can make a difference.

It’s really all about balance and eating the foods you like in moderation. And by understanding the impact of certain foods, you can make simple swaps that let you enjoy what you love without it costing the Earth.

So, the next time you’re writing your shopping list or choosing what to eat from our menu, why not give some thought to more sustainable choices that might not add as much to your carbon footprint?