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Reducing our Foodprint: Food Waste, Sustainability & the Environment

November 2, 2022
3 min read

At MenuAid we're committed to sustainability. We often talk about the need for reducing our plastic and food waste, but understanding where our food comes from and the impact it has on the environment is just as important

Food production accounts for over 25% of global emissions, and we want to play our part in reducing this.

So, to help us all live a little greener, you can now see the CO2e emissions associated with each and every MenuAid recipe. Click the leaf icon on each recipe page to see the impact the ingredients has on our environment.

What does KgCO2e/kg mean?

The emissions in food production are shown as KgCO2e/kg which, simply put, means how many kilograms of CO2 (and other greenhouse gas equivalents) are created per kilogram of the food made.

This production includes growing the food, processing and packaging it, and all of the transport involved getting the food from its origin to our plates.

How did we come up with this number?

We used a recent study from the University of Otago which created estimates for the impact our food has on global emissions, specifically for New Zealand. We then applied these estimates to the ingredients included in our recipes.

While our aim is to better show the impact our meals can have, and hopefully encourage us all to reduce this impact, it’s important to note that these figures are estimates and aren’t perfect–but still the best approximations available at this time.

How can I reduce my carbon foodprint?

Eat seasonal

It won't come as a suprise to many, but cutting out food that doesn't need to be flown into New Zealand can make a huge change. Choosing fruits, veggies and other produce that are in season reduces the demand for 'fresh' produce which need to be imported, such as lettuce, asparagus and strawberries.

What's more - seasonal food is almost always cheaper, healthier and packed with more flavour. It's a win-win(-win?).

Eat Local

Choosing to shop local can reduce the transport our food needs even further. Grabbing your veggies from a farm 10 minutes down the road, rather than hours away, means less transport time, storage required, and less associated emissions.

And if you want to go even further - growing your own food brings your food miles to near zero. If you've got some garden space and little bit of time, easy-to-manage vegetables such as spinach, silverbeet and cabbage can be a great starting point. Or, take you first steps with a little pot of herbs on your window-sill!

Reduce meat & dairy

Cutting down on (or even cutting out!) how much meat and dairy we consume is often the biggest step we can make in reducing our 'foodprint'. With meat and dairy as the two largest contributors to food-associated greenhouse gas emissions, switching to one meat-free meal per week (Meat-free Monday anyone?) can make a huge difference.

And, luckily, we've got over 300 vegetarian recipes if you need inpiration!

Should I be worried about my foodprint?

While it might be daunting seeing the emissions associated with our food - you shouldn't panic. Food production produces a lot of a emissions for the simple reason that it's a core human neccessity: all ~8 billion of us on the Earth need food, and at least a portion of the emissions are unavoidable.

What we can avoid and reduce is the excess emissions in what we're choosing to source, cook and eat.

Driving global change can be as simple as what we're cooking in our kitchens.

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