Food producers are looking to get customers to eat more, but what about the environment?
It’s not just the amount of waste and land required to produce a given food product that determines the environmental impact of a particular food.
There’s also the amount produced in each production process.
To find out how much of each of these different processes contributes to environmental impacts, researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia and New Zealand recently analyzed data from 1,000 food processors and food manufacturers in Australia, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The study found that food processing accounts for only 15 to 20 percent of total environmental impacts in Australia.
In the U.S., food processing contributes only 10 percent to total food waste, according to the report.
In addition, the food industry is also responsible for over two thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank, which have a combined $60 trillion in greenhouse gas emission.
And the food processing industry’s greenhouse gas footprint is expected to grow by 10 to 12 percent per year by 2025.
In other words, the impact of food processing on the environment could be more severe than the amount it is taking in.
“Food processing contributes to around 1,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually and contributes $11 billion in greenhouse gases,” said lead author Dr. Robert Hodge, an environmental scientist at UNSW.
“It is not just a small part of our food supply, it’s a large part of the total food supply.”
Food processing also contributes to food waste and environmental degradation in many countries.
“For example, in China, processed foods account for about a quarter of the country’s total food wastage and about a third of its food waste emissions,” Hodge explained.
In Australia, processed food accounts for almost half of total food wasting, according the report, and it’s expected to contribute to a similar increase in waste in Australia as it does in the U and the U-S.
In terms of the amount processed food contributes to climate change, the UNSW researchers found that processed food wastes more than two times the amount recycled from food production as used for composting.
“If the food that you eat comes from a supermarket, the amount that you’re going to use up is the same as if you went to a farmer’s market and picked up a whole bunch of vegetables,” Hoyle said.
“The waste ends up in landfills and that landfilling is responsible for a lot of the environmental degradation of Australia.”
This is particularly true of the U of A. According to Hodge’s team, food processing is the most carbon intensive process on Earth and contributes to about 30 percent of greenhouse gas pollution in Australia compared to only 15 percent of food waste.
“Processing is the single biggest contributor to climate emissions, and there’s a lot that goes into that,” Hike explained.
“A lot of that carbon dioxide goes to the atmosphere.”
How much of your food is processed?
Processed foods are divided into three categories: natural foods, food additives, and food services.
Natural foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy products, seafood, and meat.
The third category, food services include meats, poultry, and dairy products.
Natural and natural food products can be bought at the grocery store, but food services are often delivered by food service companies.
Natural food products like produce, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains, are typically served in packaged foods or frozen.
The most important thing to consider is how the food is prepared.
If you’re not sure how the foods you buy are processed, you can ask the company about the food’s processing process.
If it’s not clear, then you’re better off not buying it.
Processed food can be expensive because it’s often processed by large corporations that are often located in remote locations, and often have very little environmental responsibility.
“In the United Arab Emirates, for example, one of the largest food processing companies is based in Dubai,” Hoke explained.
The company’s operations in the UAE are responsible for an estimated 30 percent to 40 percent of all food waste in the country, according Hodge.
“There’s a reason why there’s so much concern about waste and food waste,” Hose said.
In many ways, the environment is the biggest obstacle for food processing in Australia because food processing tends to be done by large multinational corporations that rely on high-priced imported ingredients and high-volume production methods.
According the UNW report, Australia is one of a handful of countries where food processing has no government oversight.
This means food processors can operate without oversight, with little or no environmental protection and with little regulation in place to prevent food waste or environmental degradation.
“Most food processing operations are conducted by private companies, and they’re often operated from offices in Australia,” Holey said.
Food processors in Australia are often hired by large international corporations.
For example, the majority of food processors