Environmental Concerns in Food Consumption

Mario F. Teisl

in The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Food Consumption and Policy

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199569441
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Economics

 Environmental Concerns in Food Consumption

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  • Economics
  • Agricultural, Environmental, and Natural Resource Economics
  • Public Economics


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This article outlines the major environmental issues related to food consumption, which encompass not only the impacts caused by the production of food, but also those generated by food transport, processing, packaging, consumption, and disposal. Much of the literature cited here uses product- or process-based lifecycle analysis (LCA), also known as lifecycle assessment or eco balance analysis. It discusses a recent issue that is related to the environmental impacts of food consumption and is the concept of food miles; i.e., the environmental costs related to transportation of food from the farm or production facility to the retail store. Most of the comparisons are meant to be qualitatively illustrative. The article examines the source materials directly for some of the issues related to LCA. It discusses a critical role that packaging plays in food safety, storage, and transport.

Keywords: environmental issues; food consumption; lifecycle analysis; food miles; packaging

Article.  12510 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Agricultural, Environmental, and Natural Resource Economics ; Public Economics

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