Meat at the top of French grocery carbon footprint

By Melodie Michel

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hygiene

Meat at the top of French grocery carbon footprint
Meat is accountable for one-third of the average French shopper’s carbon footprint, despite only representing 8% of the basket’s weight, and 23% of its cost, according to a study by French environment ministry CGDD.

The document explained that animal feed and livestock transportation were the main reasons for this result. In comparison, fruit and vegetables accounted for 7% of the carbon content of purchases, and represents 20% of the shopping basket’s weight.

In 2009, the average French shopping basket contained the equivalent of 1.4 tonnes of carbon, for a yearly weight of about 700kg of food, beverages, pet foods, cosmetics, personal hygiene products and toiletry articles.

CGDD noted that the carbon footprint varied according to socioprofessional categories. For example, retired people’s baskets are almost 25% higher than average in carbon, which can be explained by the fact that they take the majority of their meals at home and therefore have a “heavier” shopping basket.

Age and lifestyle also impact the final result and, while meat represents 21% of the basket’s carbon footprint for single under-30s, it goes up to 33% for couple of the same age, and keeps rising to reach its maximum for families with teenagers.

The study was based on a Kantar Worldpanel survey of 20,000 households on their grocery shopping habits. CGDD estimates that the shopping basket represents around 16% of the French population’s annual expenditure.

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