Life Cycle Assessment of the existing protein food consumption in Norway

This report summarizes the work on establishing the average environmental impact of production of protein food consumed in Norway using the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) method. The study is a part of Work Package 1 in the research project FoodProFuture (“Innovative and Sustainable Exploitation of Plant Proteins in Future Foods” ), a four year project in collaboration with Nofima, Nibio, NMBU, RISE and 5 other research institutes and 11 partner companies, e.g. Orkla, Mills, BAMA, Cerealia, Borregaard, AM Nutrition and Norsk Matraps.


The purpose of the study was to establish a “baseline” against which, other alternative protein foods could be compared. These alternative proteins  foods are based on the plant protein sources faba beans, peas and oats as well as residual products from rapeseed and potato.


The intention of this report has been to serve as a point of reference when evaluating environmental impacts of alternative protein sources, in particular different raw materials based on plant proteins. The emphasis has not been on finding life cycle impacts of individual product groups. The uncertainty of the results has not been calculated, but based on findings in many other studies, it is probably high. Thus, it is recommended to use great caution when using the LCA results from this study as a basis for comparison between products.


The calculations only include impacts from primary production to the point where the products is ready to be processed, hence the results should not be interpreted as giving the full impact of protein foods consumed in Norway. The environmental impact of the different protein food categories varies considerably from product category to product category. Although care has been taken to analyse all product categories using identical methodology, there are differences in the LCAs performed, in particular in the input data used in the assessments.


The result of the study is quantified environmental impacts and resource use for 22 different product categories, i.e per kg raw material produced (including the water content they naturally have)  and per kg protein in the raw material. 


The main outcome of the study is an estimate for average contribution to environmental impacts and resource use of the average protein consumed in Norway by inhabitants in Norway. The results have been weighted based in consumption of the different raw materials to reflect weighted average for the total amount consumed.




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