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The price of protein: Review of land use and carbon footprints from life cycle assessments of animal food products and their substitutes


  • Nijdam, Durk
  • Rood, Trudy
  • Westhoek, Henk


Animal husbandry, aquaculture and fishery have major impacts on the environment. In order to identify the range of impacts and the most important factors thereof, as well as to identify what are the main causes of the differences between products, we analysed 52 life cycle assessment studies (LCAs) of animal and vegetal sources of protein. Our analysis was focused only on land requirement and carbon footprints.

Suggested Citation

  • Nijdam, Durk & Rood, Trudy & Westhoek, Henk, 2012. "The price of protein: Review of land use and carbon footprints from life cycle assessments of animal food products and their substitutes," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 760-770.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:37:y:2012:i:6:p:760-770
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2012.08.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hyland, J.J. & Styles, D. & Jones, D.L. & Williams, A.P., 2016. "Improving livestock production efficiencies presents a major opportunity to reduce sectoral greenhouse gas emissions," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 123-131.
    2. Angelina Sanderson Bellamy & Antonio A. R. Ioris, 2017. "Addressing the Knowledge Gaps in Agroecology and Identifying Guiding Principles for Transforming Conventional Agri-Food Systems," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-17, February.
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:8:p:1340-:d:106466 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:spr:climat:v:142:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10584-017-1912-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Peter Scarborough & Paul Appleby & Anja Mizdrak & Adam Briggs & Ruth Travis & Kathryn Bradbury & Timothy Key, 2014. "Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 125(2), pages 179-192, July.
    6. repec:spr:climat:v:148:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10584-018-2195-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Westhoek, Henk & Ingram, John & van Berkum, Siemen & Hajer, Maarten, 2015. "The European food system and natural resources: Impacts and Options," 148th Seminar, November 30-December 1, 2015, The Hague, The Netherlands 229279, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    8. Röös, Elin & Patel, Mikaela & Spångberg, Johanna, 2016. "Producing oat drink or cow's milk on a Swedish farm — Environmental impacts considering the service of grazing, the opportunity cost of land and the demand for beef and protein," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 23-32.
    9. Apostolidis, Chrysostomos & McLeay, Fraser, 2016. "Should we stop meating like this? Reducing meat consumption through substitution," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 74-89.
    10. Goldstein, Benjamin & Hansen, Steffen Foss & Gjerris, Mickey & Laurent, Alexis & Birkved, Morten, 2016. "Ethical aspects of life cycle assessments of diets," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 139-151.
    11. Peters, Christian J. & Picardy, Jamie A. & Darrouzet-Nardi, Amelia & Griffin, Timothy S., 2014. "Feed conversions, ration compositions, and land use efficiencies of major livestock products in U.S. agricultural systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 35-43.
    12. Forte, Annachiara & Zucaro, Amalia & De Vico, Gionata & Fierro, Angelo, 2016. "Carbon footprint of heliciculture: A case study from an Italian experimental farm," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 99-111.
    13. Pierer, Magdalena & Winiwarter, Wilfried & Leach, Allison M. & Galloway, James N., 2014. "The nitrogen footprint of food products and general consumption patterns in Austria," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(P1), pages 128-136.
    14. Panzone, Luca A. & Lemke, Fred & Petersen, Henry L., 2016. "Biases in consumers' assessment of environmental damage in food chains and how investments in reputation can help," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 327-337.
    15. Gerhard Flachowsky & Ulrich Meyer, 2015. "Challenges for Plant Breeders from the View of Animal Nutrition," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(4), pages 1-25, December.
    16. S. Marije Seves & Elisabeth H. M. Temme & Marinka C. C. Brosens & Michiel C. Zijp & Jeljer Hoekstra & Anne Hollander, 2016. "Sustainability aspects and nutritional composition of fish: evaluation of wild and cultivated fish species consumed in the Netherlands," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 597-610, April.
    17. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:11:p:2003-:d:117255 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Abeliotis, Konstadinos & Costarelli, Vassiliki & Anagnostopoulos, Konstadinos, 2016. "The Effect of Different Types of Diet on Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Greece," International Journal on Food System Dynamics, International Center for Management, Communication, and Research, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-14, February.
    19. de Ruiter, Henri & Kastner, Thomas & Nonhebel, Sanderine, 2014. "European dietary patterns and their associated land use: Variation between and within countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 158-166.
    20. Hunter, Erik & Röös, Elin, 2016. "Fear of climate change consequences and predictors of intentions to alter meat consumption," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 151-160.
    21. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2313-:d:122609 is not listed on IDEAS
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