Insights in the environmental impact of foods in our supermarkets

Insights in the environmental impact of foods in our supermarkets

Food Consumption Impact Datasets now available

The production and consumption of food products have an impact on the environment - think of issues such as climate change, water use and land use. Consumer awareness on the sustainability of food consumption patterns is increasing – however, it is still very difficult to get a good grasp on the environmental impact of the food products purchased in the supermarket. At Blonk Consultants we have collected numerous insights and data on the impact of these consumer food products. Our Food Consumption Impact Datasets open up a range of opportunities for companies and organisations aiming for a more sustainable world.

Over the past years Blonk Consultants has been developing databases containing environmental impact data on agri-food products. We are convinced food consumption should become more sustainable and healthier at the same time. Therefore, we decided to make ‘sustainable diets’ one of our expertise fields. In 2014 we launched Optimeal: al tool developed to solve dietary questions that involve sustainability- as well as health related parameters. In 2018 we took Optimeal to the next level, by making Optimeal a web-based tool and including high quality datasets. This update has induced the development of consumer foods’ environmental impact data on a European level. Simultaneously, together with RIVM (the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and Environment), we have been gathering and developing more and more environmental impact data on the Dutch scope of this same category of consumer foods. The life cycle stages included in the calculations include all stages from crop cultivation up until the consumption of the product. This means it does not only include the cultivation and processing, but also the environmental impacts of the packaging, distribution, retail, preparation and the food losses at consumption.
Food Consumption Impact Datasets_FINAL

Schematic overview of the Food Consumption Impact Datasets

After having used these datasets within Blonk’s walls for a while, we decided that now the time has come to share them with the world. Sharing environmental impact data is the start of more awareness on the impact of food and might lead to more environmentally friendly purchasing behaviour in supermarkets. The Food Consumption Impact Datasets can be used to assess the environmental impact of consumer food, while being able to rely on a consistent, qualitatively sound set of data. They open up a range of possibilities for companies or organisations to develop solutions, tools or reports provoking the movement to a more sustainable world.

New on our Tool portal: Food Consumption Impact Datasets

The Blonk Tool Portal is our platform where you can find databases, datasets and tools, which help you to get more insights in the sustainability of agri-food products, processes and innovations. We keep expanding this platform, this time by releasing the Food Consumption Impact Datasets. These datasets reveal the environmental impact of more than 160 consumer food products, such as cheese, sauces, instant coffee, fruits, chocolate, pasta, ready-to-eat soups and prepared salad mixes. We offer a database focused on the Netherlands and a database containing European averages, defined according to FoodEx, which is a standardised food classification and description system set up by the European Union. For the origin of products, “market mixes” are used, which means that the European or Dutch average mixes of a product’s countries of origin are used.
The datasets (both NL and EU) are available with two different system boundaries:
  • Farm-to-Fork, including the impacts of all stages from cultivation up until consumption;
  • Farm-to-Retail, including all stages up until the product has arrived in the supermarket.
Ten different environmental impact categories are covered, including Global Warming (in- and excluding land use change), Land Use, Water Consumption, Eutrophication, Acidification and many more. This allows assessment of environmental performance not only on carbon footprint, but on multiple environmental aspects. The calculations are made consistently, with use of international LCA standards and, where possible and meaningful, compliant to the PEF standards defined by the European Commission.

We set up a Q&A document to provide more insights on the products covered, the underlying methodologies and limitations of the datasets.


More information


If you are interested in one of our food consumption impact datasets, for your own use or for use in a tool,
please contact Laura Wolf at laura@blonkconsultants.nl or call +31 (0)182 579970.