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Simple supermarket swaps you can make to cut your “carbon calories.”


Whether it’s turning off lights when not in use or deciding to walk instead of driving, many of us try to take steps to reduce our carbon footprint.

Now scientists have revealed the simple supermarket swap you can make to cut your “carbon calories.”

Their findings suggest that people who want to go greener should swap feta for mozzarella and make their own burgers instead of buying ready-made burgers.

Scientists have revealed the simple supermarket swap you can make to cut your “carbon calories.”

Feta requires huge amounts of water to produce and releases 34 kg of CO2/kg during production

Mozzarella only produces 9 kg CO2/kg

Feta (left) requires huge amounts of water to produce and, according to CarbonCloud, releases 34 kg of CO2/kg during production. Instead, they suggest that customers should consider switching to mozzarella (right), which produces 9 kg CO2/kg

Substitutions to reduce your ‘carbon calories’
Exchange In front of
Milk chocolate (5.9 kg CO2/kg) Foam candies (1.6 kg CO2/kg)
Feta (34kg CO2/kg) Mozzarella (9.0 kg CO2/kg)
Grapes (1.1 kg CO2/kg) Strawberries (0.19 kg CO2/kg)
Whole milk (1.9 kg CO2/kg) Skimmed milk (1.2 kg CO2/kg)
Goat cheese (46kg CO2/kg) Halloumi (30kg CO2/kg)
Latte (2.4kg CO2/kg) TENZING (0.33kg CO2/kg)
Gin (4.3kg CO2/kg) Red wine (1.5 kg CO2/kg)
Glass jar yoghurt (4.1 kg CO2/kg) Yogurt in a paper jar (3.1 kg CO2/kg)
Tomatoes from the UK (3.8 kg CO2/kg) Tomatoes from Spain (1.8 kg CO2/kg)
Dried pasta (1.1 kg CO2/kg) Potatoes (0.26 kg CO2/kg)
Frozen broccoli (0.93 kg CO2/kg) Fresh broccoli (0.6 kg CO2/kg)
Beef burger (22kg CO2/kg) Minced beef (16kg CO2/kg)
Sea bass from Europe (14kg CO2/kg) Cod from the UK (8.1 kg CO2/kg)
Pre-sliced ​​ham (5.9 kg CO2/kg) Deli counter ham (5.1 kg CO2/kg)
Chips (2.9 kg CO2/kg) Peanuts (1.6 kg CO2/kg)

In the study, researchers from food data company CarbonCloud, commissioned by natural energy drink TENZING, investigated the ecological footprint of the average shopping basket.

The team studied the production of 30 popular food products from the farm to the supermarket shelf.

Factors considered included field nitrogen oxide levels, fertilizer emissions, deforestation emissions, energy use in factories, and crop productivity.

Based on their analysis, the team was able to estimate the number of kilograms of CO2 produced per kilogram of end product.

Their findings show that feta and goat cheese both require huge amounts of water to produce, releasing 34 kg CO2/kg and 46 kg CO2/kg respectively during production.

Instead, the experts suggest that customers should consider switching to mozzarella (9 kg CO2/kg) or halloumi (30 kg CO2/kg).

Looking at popular meats, ground beef was found to produce 25 percent less CO2 than ready-made burgers, while deli ham is a greener option than pre-cut ham.

And in terms of alcohol options, gin releases 2.8 kg CO2/kg more than red wine.

Other easy options include switching from milk chocolate to foam candies, switching from frozen broccoli to fresh broccoli, and opting for yogurt from a paper jar instead of a mason jar.

And while it may sound counterintuitive, the researchers say customers should choose tomatoes from Spain instead of tomatoes from the UK.

Dr. Erik Edlund, VP of Science at CarbonCloud, explains: ‘A tomato grown in the UK that has traveled less but is grown in a greenhouse has a larger climate footprint than the Spanish tomato, which is not grown in a greenhouse.

“This is just one example of how the food we think of as more artificial and processed doesn’t always have a larger footprint.”

In terms of alcohol options, the study found that gin emits 2.8 kg CO2/kg more than red wine

In terms of alcohol options, the study found that gin emits 2.8 kg CO2/kg more than red wine

Minced beef produces 16 kg CO2/kg

Ready-made beef burgers produce 22 kg CO2/kg

Looking at popular meats, ground beef (left) was found to produce 25 percent less CO2 than ready-made burgers (right)

While you may worry that making these swaps will increase the price of your weekly shop, CarbonCloud says it won’t.

The average costs of the ‘low carbon’ and ‘low carbon’ baskets were compared using which confirmed that they were similarly priced.

“The basket of swaps proves that reducing the carbon footprint of Britons’ weekly shop doesn’t mean spending more money,” added CarbonCloud.

The report comes shortly after researchers at the University of Bristol called on restaurants to add carbon labels to their menus to encourage diners to choose greener options.

In their study, the team asked survey participants whether they would order a burrito with a filling of beef, chicken, or vegetarian.

Each burrito was accompanied by a traffic light-style sustainability ranking, with the vegetarian option green for the most sustainable.

They found that five percent more of the participants went vegetarian when the eco-labels were added, while 15 percent more went vegetarian or chicken – the second most sustainable option.

The authors wrote: ‘The label was particularly effective with those who were motivated to act sustainably.’


The total annual consumption of sandwiches in the UK has the same environmental impact as the use of about eight million cars a year, scientists claim.

Researchers arrived at the figure after studying the carbon footprint of different types of sandwiches — both homemade and prepackaged.

The University of Manchester team calculated the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) – a standard unit for measuring carbon footprint – for the snacks.

Their calculation was based on figures from the British Sandwich Association (BSA) that 11.5 billion sandwiches are eaten in the UK every year.

This shows the total carbon footprint (grams of CO2 per sandwich) of 24 store-bought sandwiches.

All-day breakfast 1441.3 g

Ham and cheese 1349.5 g

Shrimp and mayonnaise 1254.7 g

Egg and bacon 1182.4 g

Ham Salad 1119.1g

Cheese Ploughman’s 1112.1g

Sausage and brown sauce 1087.2 g

Double cheese and onion 1078.4g

Cheese & Tomato 1067.3g

Roast chicken and bacon 1030g

Bacon, lettuce and tomato 1007.4g

Ham & Mustard 1000.5g

Roast chicken and stuffing 991g

Ham and mayonnaise 978.2 g

Cheese and mayo 976.2 g

Chicken Salad 963g

Cheese & Pickle 956.4g

Ham and egg 947.8 g

Tuna and Cucumber 942.9g

Chicken and Mayo 887g

Free range egg and arugula 853.8g

Tuna and sweetcorn 851.6 g

Chicken & Corn 769g

Egg mayo and garden cress 739.0g

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