Manchester study: huge footprint on ready meals

Supermarket lamb curry ready meals are the annual equivalent of 140m car miles, or 5,500 car trips around the world, according to a new study.

Ingredients in the ready meals are responsible for 65% of the carbon footprint, with lamb accounting for 50%. Meal manufacture contributes on average 14%, packaging 4%, transport 2% with storage at the retailer contributing 16%.

Scientists in the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science found that one ready meal generates the equivalent of 4.3 kg of carbon dioxide emissions per person.

Adisa Azapagic, Professor of Sustainable Chemical Engineering at The University of Manchester is leading the project. The Engineering and Physical Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council are among those that have contributed £1m to the research

According to Azapagic: "The same lamb curry prepared at home has a 20% lower carbon footprint, mainly because of the elimination of the refrigeration stage at retailers needed for the ready-made meals."

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