Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Should we ban strawberries in winter ?


Some retailers like Casino in France begin to communicate on the packaging of their Private Label the greenhouse gas balance. Beyond the Marketing effect, it raises some questions for the consumers. It surely may afraid a bit more shoppers and if it’s used to compare products in shelf, anyone must be sure of the method used to measure it. Imported products are on focus for the transportation impact on CO2. Some groups are flourishing in the west coast of the US, the locavores, which purpose is to "eat locally" so they only consume food produced in an area of 100 miles around San Francisco bay.

But nothing is simple and we may perhaps be once more victim of a counterintuitive situation. A study from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the Carnegie Mellon University (here) demonstrates that even carried on large distance (mean of 6700 km) transportation represents only 11% of greenhouse gas emissions. In fact 83% of the gases has to be attributed to production mode.


By the way, and that’s even more interesting, the kind of food shows very disparate rate of gas balance. Indeed, red meat is around 150% more greenhouse gas intensive than chicken or fish. Conclusion, to save the planet, it’s more efficient to switch your diet, reducing the consumption of red meat and dairy products than quiting strawberries in winter…

2 comments:

Cecilia said...

well, red meat consumption is one of the biggest contributor to the greenhouse effect... and not for their transport but rather by cattles' own digestion... methane is 12 times more polluting than CO2! fully support the switch to fish and strawberries!:)

Nicolas Schriver said...

I think that in France we are better than in the US: US retailers don't hesitate to propose strawberries all year long, coming from different places in the world. Sometimes, I have also seen that the strawberries are still a little bit frozen (probably during the transportation process).

I like the idea to get the awareness of customers about consuming stuffs that have been produced in a sustainable way.

But in fact, and I think your article pointed it out, customers have very few knowledge about how to evaluate how ecological a product can be.

Most of them (like I must admit myself) knows very few about the seasonality of fruits (meaning which seasons for which fruits). This is a totally new learning process that has to be conducted...

A vast work...