May 10, 2022 — Frozen food company Nomad Foods is urging F&B regulators across Europe to develop a comprehensive end-to-end product lifecycle approach. This should include data in Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) that are not currently used – such as consumer food waste and primary data for all stages of processing.
A peer-reviewed study by PRé Sustainability, commissioned by Nomad Foods, showed that food waste from retailers and consumers – data not normally included in LCA assessments – has a “significant effect on environmental impact aggregate of products, equivalent to approximately 160 million metric units”. tonnes of CO2 in Europe,” according to the study.
“This is one of the most elaborate frozen food LCA studies ever conducted, covering a wide range of frozen food products and their alternatives and addressing them all in a consistent methodological way,” says consultant Ellen Meijer. for PRé Sustainability, authors of the study. .
“We are now in the unique position to draw conclusions about the carbon footprint of frozen food products compared to their non-frozen alternatives and generalize those conclusions to the frozen food category.”
Frozen foods, frozen shows
One of the most relevant findings from the study is that of the 22 products evaluated under the new scope, Nomad Food’s frozen products performed significantly better than their non-frozen counterparts, with 18 of its 22 products with a lower carbon footprint. For the realization of the study, they analyzed the most popular products of the company.
Of the frozen products analyzed, three had a 30% lower carbon footprint than their non-frozen alternatives, which used other preservation methods. Eight had 10% lower emissions, 13 had similar emissions, and three had higher emissions that ranged between 10% and 15%.
One of the food products analyzed is cream of spinach which, according to the new LCA approach, has a carbon footprint of 2.5 kg CO2 when fresh compared to 1.8 kg CO2 when frozen.
Call on industry to understand their role
Nomad Foods also urges companies to fully understand the total emissions of their products and to provide accurate and complete information.
“Food production is a major contributor to climate change. Making better environmental choices about what we eat and how we reduce food waste is a way for businesses and consumers to reduce their carbon impact.
“It is critical that we find ways to provide consumers with information that helps them make informed choices and gives them confidence that sustainability claims are strong and evidence-based. To support this, we are encouraging the food industry, retailers and regulators to adopt a wider scope for LCAs as standard, taking into account the entire product life cycle,” remarks Stéfan Descheemaeker, CEO of Nomad Foods.
Enhanced ACV Full Stages
Nomad Food proposes to add new steps in the LCA perimeters, which are generally not included in the studies.
Typical steps analyzed include ingredients, production, and transportation to the factory. Processing, plant operations, packaging and energy consumption. Including packaging materials and their transport. Followed by the distribution front and transport to the distribution center, to the retail hub and its storage there. And finally, all the retail storage and waste footprint: electricity, coolant, waste treatment and product losses.
The new study suggests adding the following steps:
– Consumer transport: From the retailer to the consumer.
– Consumer storage: Use of electricity for storage by the consumer.
– Consumer preparation: Energy consumption by the consumer to cook the food product, as well as any capital goods.
– Consumer waste: Treatment of primary packaging waste and product losses. This includes all the upstream processes necessary to compensate for product losses at the consumer.
By Marc Cervera
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