There is increasing market interest in understanding the contribution that products and services make to climate change. In response, DEFRA and the Carbon Trust are currently working with the British Standards Institution (BSI) to develop a methodology that will enable organisations to understand the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the products that they manufacture, buy or sell. With this knowledge, the GHG performance of these products can be more effectively improved. The BSI is developing a Publicly Available Standard (PAS) that will provide an agreed, accurate and consistent approach to measuring GHG emissions associated with products and services. The PAS will also provide a tool to explore the impacts of potential future scenarios for food production and consumption, including combinations of different systems of farming, food processing and distribution.
The project is intended both to establish the suitability of the developing BSI-PAS methodology for generating robust data on GHG impacts of storage and cooking practices in-home and to generate robust GHG impact data on a range of specific food types and meal constructs. This will inform DEFRA on the relative GHG importance of activities in this sector of the food chain and also form the basis of future messages to consumers to help improve their environmental footprint in future. It is envisaged that work would consist of two fairly distinct elements:
1. a brief evaluation of the suitability of the BSI methodology in the in-home context, followed by
2. a more lengthy study to generate real GHG impact data on a range of foods and food handling methods.
In the context of this project, food storage and preparation will be taken to include frozen, refrigerated and ambient storage and a range of cooking methods such as gas and electric ovens and hobs, microwaves etc. It will also take account of the impacts of associated energy requirements such as the:
- use of food processors and other kitchen equipment,
- heating of water for washing up,
- use of microwaves for defrosting of frozen ingredients
- generation of GHG from waste food and packaging materials
The project will be undertaken in two phases. This application is concerned only with phase 1. Phase 1 will include a general assessment of fitness for purpose of the BSI-PAS methodology in the context of additional GHG impacts of food storage and preparation in the home. This will be done using two parts of a prepared meal that each involves a number of cooking steps. The chosen dishes are (i) a cottage pie, made from beef mince, tomatoes and potatoes, and can either be purchased from a retailer in a ready-to-eat format (frozen, chilled, ambient) or prepared from ingredients in the home, and (ii) an apple crumble, made from fresh apples, flour and butter.