Labeling food packets with carbon footprint can help reduce potential environmental impacts, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The study showed the introduction of carbon footprint labels on food items could be a simple intervention to increase understanding of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions emerging from food production.
For example, a vegan diet based on fruits, vegetables and grains has the least impact on the environment, while pork, chicken and fish create a moderate impact.
"If you ask people to guess the difference between items such as beef and vegetable soup on the environment they assume there is not much difference, but beef soup creates more than 10 times the amount of greenhouse gases than vegetable soup," said Adrian Camilleri, lead researcher from the varsity.
"The choices we make at the dinner table can have a significant impact on global challenges such as climate change, and our research shows consumers are keen to make that choice," she added.
For the study, the team presented 120 participants with a choice of soups to buy.
When the soups had a carbon footprint label, participants bought fewer beef soups and more vegetable soups than when there was no label provided.
Greenhouse gases emerging from beef and lamb production include those created in the production of fertiliser for feed, methane emitted from the animals, livestock transportation and the loss of trees to clear land for pasture.
Therefore, shifting diets towards fruits and vegetables could be a promising strategy for reducing climate change, the researchers stated.