Our consumption of food has a significant impact on the environment. Food-related product systems differ considerably in terms of the strain they place on the environment. Of course agricultural production is a key factor, but other downstream aspects such as processing, packaging, distribution, preparation and waste can have a major influence on the environmental burden. ifeu has previously issued life cycle assessments and greenhouse gas / energy balance sheets for a wide range of foods. Key results are also drawn up and communicated to the general public.

ifeu outreach activities in the food sector

Communication of key ifeu results in the foodstuff sector and dissemination of ifeu expertise should not be limited to an expert audience. On the contrary, outreach to the general public is a key ifeu strategy. For this purpose, ifeu routinely engages in outreach and public relations activities, e.g. with presentations at trade shows and fairs, on television and radio and in talks for lay audiences. ifeu is seeking to raise public awareness for the following four principles.

  • Principle 1 – Low-meat diet: The climate footprint of cold cuts and meat is considerably worse than that of fresh vegetables. In consequence, the share of meat in the diet should be reduced. From a climate perspective, beef is the least favourable meat option.
  • Principle 2 – Regional and seasonal produce: the combination of ‘regional and seasonal’ is key for avoiding long transport distances or energy-intensive greenhouse cultivation and/or prolonged refrigerated storage.
  • Principle 3 – Environmentally-conscious shopping: grocery shopping should be carried out on foot or by bicycle, or alternatively by car while avoiding unnecessary detours. If the distance covered by car for a minor grocery shop exceeds a few kilometres, there is a considerable impact on the environmental footprint of the resulting meal.
  • Principle 4 – Waste prevention: Food items that ultimately end up in the waste bin have been produced, transported, purchased and prepared just like consumed food. Food going to waste has a negative impact on any environmental footprint. To avoid these effects, the grocery list should be well prepared and leftover food should be consumed instead of discarded.


Guido Reinhardt

PhD Mathematician, Chemist, Biologist
Scientific Director
+49 (0)6221 4767 31

Andreas Detzel

Dipl. Biology
Scientific and Managing Director
+49 (0)6221 4767 0


Pr:Ins - Holistic evaluation of alternative protein sources with special consideration of insects

Collaborative project of the innovation space "NewFoodSystems"

Pr:Ins creates sustainability profiles of protein ingredients and protein-containing foods from alternative protein sources, with a focus on the sustainability assessment of insects.

GourMed - Sustainability assessment of Mediterranean supply chains based on selected case studies

The collaborative project GourMed conducts research with the aim of further developing food supply in the Mediterranean region and making it more effective, cost-efficient and sustainable.

Environmental footprint of food and dishes in Germany

How are the production, transport, packaging or preparation of food affecting the environment? The new ifeu study "Environmental footprint of food and dishes in Germany" provides not only CO2…


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The project KEEKS (Climate and Energy Efficient School Canteens) investigates the possibilities to design school canteens more climate and energy efficient. Main aspects include the selection of food,…


Protein2Food is a new research project funded by the EU. The project’s aim is to develop innovative, cost-effective and resource-efficient, healthy plant proteins for human consumption in the form of…


COSMOS aims at reducing the dependence on imported coconut and palm kernel oils and fatty acids and on castor oil as sources for medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA, C10–C14) and medium-chain polymer…

D-FACTORY: The Micro-Algae Biorefinery

The research project "The Micro-Algae Biorefinery (D-FACTORY)" aims at developing a concept for a microalgae biorefinery that is used for the sustainable production of Dunaliella algae and its…


The Value Chain from Microalgae to PUFAs: technological, environmental and integrated sustainability assessments

The research project "The Value Chain from Microalgae to PUFA" (PUFAChain) aims at creating a profound scientific and technological basis for the industrial production of high-value products from…

Wissenschaftliche Studie

Assessment of Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventories of Sweet Sorghum for first and second Generation Bioethanol

In light of increased discussions regarding the competition between bioenergy and food, Sweet Sorghum has emerged as a promising energy crop because it can be used for the production of food, biofuels…

Ecological Optimization of Regionally Produced Food: Energy and Greenhouse Gas Balances

ifeu investigated the greenhousegas and energy balances of regionally produced food compared to national or international production for six exemplary items: apple, lettuce, beef, beer, bread, milk.