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A study estimating the environmental impact of 57,000 food products in the UK and Ireland has been published by an Oxford-led research team in the journal PNAS.

Supermarket shelves containing frozen food items

The study, led by researchers in Oxford's Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) programme and Oxford Population Health used publicly available information to derive estimates of the environmental impact of 57,000 food products, which make up the majority of foods and drinks for sale in UK supermarkets.

The paper compares the environmental impacts of meat and meat alternative products, such as plant-based sausages or burgers, and finds many meat alternatives had a fifth to less than a tenth of the environmental impact of meat-based equivalents.

This is the first time a transparent and reproducible method has been developed to assess the environmental impacts of multi-ingredient products. It provides a first step towards enabling consumers, retailers, and policymakers to make informed decisions on the environmental impacts of food and drink products.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

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