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Calculating GHGE impacts and carbon labels for generic meals

Reynolds, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-1073-7394, Takacs, B., Ignatiev, I. , Tenev, D. & Penev, V. (2021). Calculating GHGE impacts and carbon labels for generic meals. Paper presented at the LEAP Conference, 6 Dec 2021, Online.


A barrier to the adoption of low carbon diets is the lack of quantification of embodied greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) at the level of a recipe and/or portion, rather than the ingredient per 100g. This lack of quantification is also a barrier to the deployment of carbon labels for the out of home/hospitality sector due to there being no quick method of footprinting and carbon labelling entire menus, product lines etc. This poster/paper seeks to fill this gap, presenting a data set of GHGE (grams of Co2e) per portion, per kcal, and per gram of protein, as well a carbon score A+ to G for 70,000 “generic meals”. These generic meals are representative of the most commonly eaten meals on the planet, and are typical meals served in 90% of restaurants. This dataset has been produced through collaboration between the Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London and Edamam, a provider of nutrition data and semantic solutions for businesses in the food, health, and wellness sectors ( We have integrated a food environmental impact database of 2842 ingredients (using the classification system of the USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24) into the Edamam API and their generic meals database. This food environmental impact database was based on environmental data from Poore and Nemecek (2018). As the ingredient classification was not a perfect match to the Edamam API we are only presenting GHGE values for generic meals with 100% ingredient matches, this has resulted in 20% of recipes not having GHGE results. The Edamam generic meal database has been developed via analysis of over 5 million recipes in the English language web and deriving the 70,000 generic meals. Each meal is provided with ingredient information as well as 80 diet and allergen labels (such as Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free, Low-Sodium, DASH, Dairy Free etc), type of meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack etc) as well as Dish Types (Soup, Stater, Sandwich etc) and Cuisine Types (Asian, British, Nordic etc). Carbon labels (A+ to G) were calculated by ranking the GHGE impacts of all generic meals per portion, highest to lowest, and separating these into 8 sections.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Additional Information: Copyright the authors, 2021.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
T Technology > TX Home economics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management > Food Policy
[thumbnail of CFP_Reynolds_LEAP2021 Edamam.pdf]
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