Food miles and carbon dioxide
Food miles (or food kilometres) describe the distance that food is transported as it travels from producer to consumer.
In the UK, our food travels an amazing 30 billion kilometres each year. This includes imports by boat and air and transport by lorries and cars
Food transport is responsible for the UK adding nearly 19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year. Over 2 million tonnes of this is produced simply by cars travelling to and from shops.
Choosing food that is local and in season means it does not have to travel so far. Reducing food miles can have a dramatic effect on reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Food Contribution to Carbon Dioxide
Note: One issue when calculating these figures is whether the carbon dioxide resulting from transport during import/export is attributed to the importing or exporting country. The graph shown here includes transport within the UK, but not overseas transport during import/export.