Food consumption survey and life cycle assessment
For this study the life cycle assessment
(LCA) research method has been combined with data from the Dutch National Food Consumption Survey
(DNFCS). An LCA gives insight into the environmental impact of products over their whole life cycle. The DNFCS has been collecting periodic data on food consumption and the nutritional status of the Dutch population since 1987. A range of food products have been selected from the DNFCS that together account for 80% of the environmental impact of Dutch food consumption. The selected foods include fruit, vegetables, nuts, dairy products, meat, meat substitutes, bread, cakes and sweet biscuits, alcoholic drinks and composite products such as tomato sauce and sausage rolls. Environmental data (life cycle inventories) have been collected for these foods.
Farm to fork
The LCAs are carried out under the farm-to-fork principle. This means that all the stages in the life cycle of the products are assessed: cultivation of the crops, transport, processing, packing, storage, retail and consumption. The last stage, consumption, also includes cooling, any preparation and cooking of the foods, food losses and waste treatment of the packaging materials. The assessment takes account of food losses throughout the whole life cycle. Pesticides are not included in this study, because unfortunately current data quality is poor.