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Assessing the environmental sustainability of consumer-centric poultry chain in the UK through life cycle approaches and the household simulation model

Guo, R., Torrejon, V. M., Reynolds, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-1073-7394 , Fayad, R., Pickering, J., Devine, R., Rees, D., Greenwood, S., Kandemir, C., Fisher, L. H. C., White, A., Quested, T. & Koh, L. S. C. (2024). Assessing the environmental sustainability of consumer-centric poultry chain in the UK through life cycle approaches and the household simulation model. Science of The Total Environment, 929, article number 172634. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2024.172634


Chicken fillets, predominantly encased in disposable plastic packaging, represent a common perishable commodity frequently found in the shopping baskets of British consumers, with an annual slaughter exceeding 1.1 billion chickens. The associated environmental implications are of considerable significance. However, a noticeable gap exists concerning the household-level ramifications of chicken meat consumption, which remains a prominent driver (165 kg CO2eyr-1 per capita) of environmental impacts in the United Kingdom (UK). This study's primary objective is to integrate Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology with insights derived from a spectrum of interventions simulated within the Household Simulation Model (HHSM). The interventions that are simulated are influenced by various consumer behaviours related to the purchase, consumption, storage and disposal of chicken fillets. The overarching aim is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the environmental consequences associated with each intervention.

The research encompasses eight distinct household archetypes and the UK average, with a focus on discerning differences in their environmental influence. The introduction of shelf-life extension measures leads to a reduction in the overall environmental impacts (in μPt), with reductions ranging from 1 % to 18 %. Concurrently, waste treatment's environmental burdens can be curtailed by 9 % to 69 % for the UK average. Of the 12 interventions tested, the intervention that combines a one-day extension in the shelf life of open packs and a three-day extension for unopened packs leads to the greatest reduction in environmental impacts, at 18 % for the entire process and 69 % for the waste treatment. This intervention is estimated to yield annual reductions of 130,722 t of CO2 emissions across the entire process and 34,720 t of CO2 emissions from waste treatment, as compared to the default scenario. These findings demonstrate the importance of integrating consumer behaviour, food waste, and packaging considerations within the domain of food LCA research.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Publisher Keywords: Chicken fillet packaging, Chicken waste, Consumer behaviour, Household archetypes, LCA, Environmental Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
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