Capture Launches Food Emission Tracker
Updated: Aug 3, 2020
The Capture app enables users to track, reduce & remove CO2 emissions from everyday life. Launched in January 2020, the team wanted to help users establish a monthly ‘CO2 goal’ (calculated by -7.6% from their baseline), then enable simple tracking for emissions from everyday journeys. Capture is now delighted to announce that users are able to track CO2 emissions from everyday eating habits too!
Users can now set their regular food preferences within the app (lots of meat, medium meat, low meat, pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan), which will appear as a daily log alongside journeys. We’ve made it flexible to edit your daily food choices - perhaps you aim for vegetarian days during the week and then choose to enjoy some meat or fish on the weekends? We’ve got you covered?
But why track emissions from food? The food industry is responsible for approximately 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions… and it’s something we have plenty of scope as individuals to help improve each day. Through the Capture app, users will now be able to share their average eating habits based on levels of meat consumption; high, medium, no beef, pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan.
We’ve found that there’s plenty of advice out there on reducing food based emissions, but the impact of advice can vary considerably… for example, ‘eat local’ is a well known recommendation (with the UN giving this too); but it would only have a significant impact if transport was responsible for a large share of food’s final carbon footprint. For most foods, this is not the case.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation make up a very small amount of the emissions from food; we’ve found that what you eat is more important than where your food traveled from. Producing beef, for example, uses 20 times the land and emits 20 times the emissions as growing beans, per gram of protein, and requires more than 10 times more resources than producing chicken.
In the largest meta-analysis of global food systems to date, published in Science by Joseph Poore & Thomas Nemecek (2018), GHG emissions from 29 different food products were examined and ranked in terms of damage - from beef at the top to nuts at the bottom. Authors analysed data collected from over 38,000 commercial farms in 119 countries and concluded that there are massive differences in the emissions produced by different foods. To put this in perspective, producing a kilogram of beef emits 60kg of CO2-e, while a kilogram of peas causes the emissions of just 1kg of CO2-e.
Why did Capture focus food tracking mainly on animal products? They can be one of the largest impact variables in the CO2 related to our diets. Generally, animal-based foods have a higher footprint than plant-based foods. Lamb and cheese both emit more than 20 kg CO2-equivalents per kilogram of food. Poultry and pork have lower footprints but are still higher than most plant-based foods, at 6 and 7 kg CO2-equivalents, respectively. You can read more about the results here.
We hope our food tracker will make it easier for users to lead a planet-friendly lifestyle - whether they are on a journey towards eating a more plant-based diet, or are simply curious about the effects that changing food habits can have on climate change.