Food Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) results are increasingly used to compare environmental impacts across foods. We define best practices for how to do this better as well as risks of current practise for users of food LCA results - or wanting to understand these comparisons - but lacking the detailed methodological insight.
The food system needs to be transformed to more sustainable production and consumption patterns. It is important that this transition is based on a solid basis of scientific knowledge and data. In many studies where food or food groups are compared, rather simple mistakes that could be easily avoided are made which risk guiding the transition in the wrong direction. For example are food types often grouped that maybe are taxonomically close, but that are produced in totally different systems and therefore have a vastly different environmental impact. It is also common to calculate average results across studies applying completely different methodological choices within LCA, which is like calculating an average of prices in different currencies. Often all LCAs are used as equally important data points, while some represent major production systems in current use, others experimental, possibly future production systems and no current production. Experimental systems often have higher impacts than more optimized systems and therefore average impacts calculated this way are often overestimated. The project aims to improve these practices and give simple and concrete recommendations for how this can be done, which are then demonstrated in a few case studies of production or consumption of seafood, a particularly diverse product group which is often misrepresented in food system studies.
Other than Sweden
Dalhousie University, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Kanada
Conference presentation at LCA in Foods in Lima, Peru, October 12-14 2022