Publications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
The environmental impact of the consumption of sweets, crisps and soft drinks
Responsible organisation
2011 (Swedish)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Swedish Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket) commissioned SIK to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study of the product segment snacks and soft drinks in order to quantify its impact upon greenhouse-gas emissions, eutrophication and primary energy use. The products studied were crisps, sweets and soft drinks produced in Sweden and consumed in the Scandinavian capitals. The life-cycle phases included in the study are raw material and ingredient production; transportation of raw materials and ingredients; industrial processing (i.e. factory); and transportation to the central warehouse and to the local retailer.

The study was conducted in co-operation with the Swedish companies Svenska Lantchips, Leaf and Spendrups. Inventories were taken at their plants in order to generate specific data for processing. Where the data was incomplete or inadequate, assumptions have been made, as specified, for each system.

The project has been supported by the Swedish Board of Agriculture via its "A Food Strategy for Sweden" programme. The Nordic Council of Min-isters provided funding via grants from the Nordic Working Group for Diet, Food and Toxicology (NKMT) and the Nordic Strategy for Sustainable De-velopment.

Aggregated results from the current study in relation to greenhouse-gas emissions are presented in the chart below. The products’ greenhouse-gas emissions per kg of product are compared to other snacks and to some com-mon staple foods that may have the same function as snacks and soft drinks.

Illustration 1: Climate gas emissions for snacks and soft drinks at the factory gate. The snacks and soft drinks studied are shown in dark purple; light purple represents previous results for this type of food; and the other colours depict the results for basic foodstuffs. References: Chocolate, juice, ice cream and bread: SIK website (www.sik.se/matoklimat). Milk: SR 793 (SIK www.sik.se under Library/Reports – Environment). Apple: SR 630 (can be ordered in hard copy from the library at SIK).

Obviously, the products do not have the same nutritional content and are not eaten in the same quantities, so the comparisons do not indicate which foods are preferable from a climate point of view, but rather show the spread in the snacks and soft drinks product segment.

There have been few previous studies on the environmental impact of snacks and soft drinks – and no publicly available life-cycle analysis has been found in relation to sweets. The results of this analysis therefore repre-sent new knowledge about the environmental impact of food.

Walkers Crisps, England, was the first company in the UK to put a climate label – a Carbon Footprint – on one of their products (http://www. walkerscarbonfootprint.co.uk/). The climate-gas emissions for the English crisps were 3.2 kg of CO

2 equivalents per kg of crisps. This is a slightly higher value than that of the crisps in this analysis (2.2 kg CO2 equivalents/kg crisps). The difference reflects the variation that occurs between various systems. For example, the potatoes used in the two varieties may be grown in different areas, and the crisps might not be fried in the same oil.

Of all the products studied in this analysis, sweets have the greatest envi-ronmental impact per kg. Foam sweets make a higher contribution to green-house-gas emissions and eutrophication and use more energy than jelly sweets. The sweets’ ingredients account for the greatest environmental im-pact of all the life-cycle steps in the analysis. Both products lose mass dur-ing production, mainly due to evaporation, and therefore the products’ proc-essing mixture has a volume that is larger than that of the finished product. Foam sweets have a lower product yield, which means that a relatively small

quantity of finished product is responsible for the environmental impact of its raw materials and ingredients. Grains and sugar beets are the raw materi-als for many of the two products’ ingredients (sugar, glucose syrup, ethanol and lactic acid), and the environmental impact of these ingredients stems from the raw material production. The contribution to eutrophication for both products is dominated by the impact from production of the ingredients (including raw materials).

Soft drinks have a relatively limited climate impact and eutrophication contribution as well as a lower energy use per kg than the other products studied. The environmental impact of the packaging is more significant, mainly due to the larger proportion of packaging material used per amount of product. For soft drinks sold in Sweden, the contribution of the packaging is lower because the bottles are returnable. For soft drinks sold in Norway, Denmark and Finland, the contribution is higher because they are assumed to be disposable. Coca-Cola in Britain has carried out Carbon Footprint analyses of their products. A 33 cl Coca-Cola in a glass bottle (disposable, including beverage) has a climate contribution of 360g of CO

2 equivalents (http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/environment/what-s-the-carbon-footprint-of-a- Coca-cola.html), which corresponds to this study’s results for cola drinks in a disposable bottle. Only 6% of this contribution stems from the ingredients, the rest comes mainly from the container – but the production process also contributes.

Switching to renewable energy (from both electricity and other sources) at the factory stage would lower climate-gas emissions (this applies to all products studied).

In 2007, Swedes consumed 1.6 kg of crisps, 15.2 kg of chocolate and confectionery, and 87.7 litres of soda per person (SJV, 2009a). The contri-bution to climate-gas emission of this consumption would be approximately 450,000 tonnes of CO

2 equivalents (calculated on the basis of the population in 2007, which was 9,182,927 according to Swedish statistics by SCB 2008). This illustration is based on the climate-contribution results for the products in this report (at the factory gate, excluding packaging), and the assumption that 50% of the chocolate and confectionery consumption is chocolate (half dark, half light) and 50% is sweets (half jelly, half foam). In a report to the Board of Agriculture (SJV, 2009b), SIK estimated that green-house-gas emissions from total food consumption in Sweden amount to approx. 17.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents (based on primary produc-tion only). Consumption of snacks and soft drinks accounts for approxi-mately 2.6% of these emissions. The corresponding figures for meat, dairy products and eggs are approx. 35%, 20% and 1% respectively (figures from SR 794 (www.sik.se under Library/Reports – Environment)).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011.
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Miljömålsprojekt; Environmental Objectives, Natural Acidification Only; Environmental Objectives, Reduced Climate Impact; Environmental Objectives, A Varied Agricultural Landscape; Environmental Objectives, A Rich Diversity of Plant and Animal Life; Environmental Objectives, Clean air; Environmental Objectives, A Non-Toxic Environment; Environmental Objectives, A Good Built Environment; Environmental Objectives, Good-Quality Groundwater; Environmental Objectives, A Balanced Marine Environ­ment, Flourishing Coastal Areas and Archipelagos; Environmental Objectives, Zero Eutrophication; Environmental Objectives, Flourishing Lakes and Streams; Environmental Objectives, Sustainable Forests; Environmental Objectives, Thriving Wetlands; Environmental Objectives, A Protective Ozone Layer; Environmental Objectives, A Magnificent Mountain Landscape; Environmental Objectives, Safe Radiation Environment
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:naturvardsverket:diva-1436OAI: oai:DiVA.org:naturvardsverket-1436DiVA: diva2:732003
Available from: 2014-07-03 Created: 2014-07-03 Last updated: 2014-07-03

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Environmental Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

Total: 139 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf