The addition of a label that shows the ecological footprint of a food product could be an important tool for customers who want to shop sustainably. However, the label has not been adopted widely at the moment - for a clear reason...
A label that makes visible the cost in greenhouse gasses of making a specific product, may help consumers realising the damage their food choices cause on the environment and act accordingly, experts say.
Such a logo is, unfortunately, easier said than done: British market leader Tesco had the idea of displaying the greenhouse footprint on all its products, but that plan was abandoned as calculating the exact figures was way too complex and other retailers did not want to follow suit. Tesco says calculating said foodprints per product may well take several months.
The complex calculations and heavy investments involved are the most important things holding back the creation of such a label, says Carbon Trust. The organisation that helps governments, organisations and companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and their general waste told Foodnavigator that these calculations "really rely on strong technical information" and that "every supply chain, product and market is different".
Still the label could be a very useful instrument: Frédéric Leroy (professor of food science and biotechnology at the Belgian VUB university) said that it could be a helpful tool if (and only if) all relevant contributors to the carbon footprint are taken into account: not only the meat industry, but also fossil fuels and ultra processed foods.