Peak of the pyramid


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11 February 2022
Potatoes compare well to other food types in terms of environmental impact

AN environmental impact report by the Barilla Center For Food & Nutrition reveals that potato CO2 emission figures compare very favourably to other carb-strong foods like bread, pasta and rice.

The report calculates that the CO2 emission of potatoes is 1,205g per kilogram produced. The same report reveals emissions are 1,050g for bread, 1,660g for legumes, 2,155g for pasta and 3,755g for rice. Potatoes use 55 litres for every kilogram produced while bread uses 1,170l/kg, pasta 1,775l, rice 2,585l and legumes 2,710l.

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN) analyses the environmental, economic and social aspects of food. Its research findings are revealed in a the form of a 'double pyramid', with an inverted pyramid on the right revealing how foods are classified in terms of their environmental impact. Potatoes appear in the second layer of the nutrition pyramid which shows high nutritional value as well as in the environmental pyramid showing low impact.

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Data for its report was obtained from publically-available databanks and scientific research studies and the values obtained for the environmental indicators refer to 1 kg (or litre) of food. It takes 5m² to produce a kilogram of potatoes, which is half the area of rice and just 28% of the land needed to produce a kilogram of legumes. 

To view the report, click here.

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