The role of trade in the greenhouse gas footprints of EU diets
Fig. 3. Dietary emissions presented in A) food item groups (categories ‘Meat, eggs’ and ‘Dairy’ also include the emissions from feed production), B) production regions.
Meat and egg consumption represents the largest share of food supply #emissions in all EU countries (Fig. 3A), ranging from 49% to 64% (EU average 56%), followed by the consumption of dairy products that account for 16–36% of the dietary emissions (EU average 27%). Direct consumption of cereals, rice, and maize account for 2–8% of the emissions (EU average 4%). Beverages and stimulants, and the consumption of vegetable oils for food account on average for less than 5% each. Emissions related to feed embedded in animal product consumption account for approximately 37% of the total emissions.
Most emissions from the production and trade of the EU food supply are caused by the consumption of domestic products or imports from other European countries (EU average 64%) (Fig. 3B). Latin America (EU average 25%) is the second most important import region followed by Asia (EU average 7%) and Africa (EU average 3%). The dominance of domestic production and intra-EU trade is expected, as most of the emissions accounted in our study are related to animal product consumption. Animal products in the EU are generally produced in nearby countries, and food and feed crops are also traded from regions further away.