Researchers from The University of Manchester have found that, on average, the carbon footprint of the ready-made sandwich is around twice that of a sandwich made at home.
The team considered the whole life-cycle (from production of ingredients through to waste management) of sandwiches with 40 different fillings, ‘focusing on most popular consumer choices in the UK’, and for each estimated the impact of a homemade sandwich and its industrial equivalent.
The findings of the study, published in Sustainable Production and Consumption in late December 2017, included:
The Independent reported that agricultural production and processing of ingredients accounted ‘for around 37% to 67% of CO2 equivalent for ready-made sandwiches. Packaging material contributed 8.5% of CO2 equivalent and transporting and refrigerating adding a further 4%.’
The researchers then considered various options for improvement, including changes in the cultivation of ingredients, recipe changes, reduction of food waste, alternative packaging and different waste management options. Their findings suggest that:
The study also explored how the information on the carbon footprint could be combined with nutritional data to assist consumers in making more informed food choices. As The Guardian noted, it: ‘recommends reducing or omitting certain ingredients that have a higher carbon footprint, like lettuce, tomato, cheese and meat. Reducing ingredients such as cheese and meat would also reduce the amount of calories eaten, contributing towards healthier lifestyles.’
Quoted by The New Scientist, report co-author Adisa Azapagic said ‘people shouldn’t ditch sandwiches, as eating them probably has less impact than a full restaurant meal. “You must take the results in context, and this was looking at sandwiches simply to create awareness of their potential impact.”’
Using bread, instead of an industrial loaf, to assemble a homemade sandwich was not one of the variables considered by the researchers.
Real Bread Campaign
Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.
The Real Bread Campaign is proud to reveal a brand new batch of official ambassadors for its
The Real Bread Campaign’s 10th annual international celebration of additive-free loaves and...
Run / taken part in a Real Bread Week event/activity, or simply baked a loaf at home? The Real...
The Real Bread Campaign is helping to make it easier for shoppers to find additive-free loaves.
Starting today, this year’s #RealBreadWeek sees the start of a new initiative to reveal the...
Over 30 organisations including Children's Food Campaign, Soil Association Food for Life,...
Sustain members Compassion in World Farming have warned that the Government’s plans to reduce...
Shadow culture, media and sport secretary Tom Watson MP has called on fast food company...
Sustain welcomes initiatives announced in the Spring Statement which will contribute toward...
A new EU directive will support farmers getting a fairer deal in their trading relationships....
The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA
Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.