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The greenhouse gas profile of a “Hungry Planet”: quantifying the impacts of the weekly food purchases including associated packaging and food waste of three families

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  • Karlie Verghese
  • Enda Crossin
  • Stephen John Clune
  • Simon Lockrey
  • Fredrik Wikström
  • Maud Rio
  • Helen Williams


The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) have estimated that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted across the supply chain, while food security emerges as one of the leading challenges facing a growing global population. Life cycle assessment (LCA) can illustrate the environmental implications of food production, consumption and waste. In 2005, Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio presented a photographic study in “Hungry Planet – What the World Eats” documenting what thirty families across twenty-four countries ate during the course of one week. The weekly food purchasing inventories of three of these families have been combined with LCA data to report the greenhouse gas intensity of these food purchases. The greenhouse gas emission profile including those of 128 varieties of fresh food, along with data on packaging material production and household food waste, have been used in the calculations. The paper will present the findings illustrating the contribution each component has: food, packaging and food waste; and will also discuss the implications for food packaging design