New Research to Help You Choose Eco-Friendly Foods | SciShow News | Summary and Q&A

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August 12, 2022
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New Research to Help You Choose Eco-Friendly Foods | SciShow News

TL;DR

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford estimates the environmental impact of various food products in the UK and Ireland, suggesting that plant-based alternatives to meat have significantly less impact compared to meat products.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the researchers estimate the environmental impact of food products?

The researchers developed an algorithm that used ingredient information from food packages to estimate quantities for each ingredient and compared them to established databases on the impacts of those ingredients.

Q: Were there any notable findings regarding the environmental impact of sausages?

The study found that beef and lamb sausages had a 240% higher impact compared to pork sausages, which were twice as bad as chicken and turkey sausages. Vegetarian and vegan sausages had the lowest impact.

Q: Did the study consider the nutritional value of the food products?

Yes, the researchers applied nutrition scores to each food product and found that many food categories with low environmental impact also provided good nutrition.

Q: Were there any limitations to the study?

The study did not account for the origin of the food products and did not consider all phases of processing and transport. The 100-point scale used is also based on 100 grams of a given food, which may not reflect typical portion sizes.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Researchers at the University of Oxford estimated the environmental impact of 57,000 food products in the UK and Ireland.

  • Plant-based alternatives to meat were found to have one-fifth to less than one-tenth the impact of meat.

  • Foods made of fruits, vegetables, sugar, and flour had lower environmental impact scores, while meat and dairy products had higher scores.

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