The climate calculator for your kitchen

Schnitzel, Käsespätzle or would you prefer Spaghetti Bolognese? Here you can calculate how climatic your own recipes are.

Schnitzel, Käsespätzle or would you prefer Spaghetti Bolognese? Here you can calculate how climatic your own recipes are.

Eating more climatically is not that easy. Is a salmon fillet better than mackerel? Should you take nutmeg for a snack – or would you prefer pistachios? Is slow soup more climate friendly than scrambled eggs with french fries and spinach? Our interactive calculator shows how much CO₂ a dish is causing. You can insert your own recipe or look at examples.

You will then also receive an assessment of whether the dish is more climatic or more harmful. It is important to note that emissions alone are not considered for this assessment. We also consider how much of our daily nutritional need is covered by food – for example in terms of fat, protein, but also in terms of nutritional weight. A dish that covers much of what we need is judged to be friendlier than one that contributes little. It is therefore possible that dishes with the same CO₂ value are valued differently. In addition, the portions are standardized so that dishes with a very high nutritional value or oversized portions are not automatically more harmful to the climate.

The team at Eaternity chose this method because otherwise the result “harmful to the climate” would always show to people who eat larger portions. And the nutritional value is normalized so that some dishes with a huge mass but hardly any nutritional value are not misclassified.

If you are cooking for several people, you can simply indicate how many servings the ingredients are intended for. The emissions per part are then shown on the right.

How are these values ​​composed? We explain the exact method in this article:

But we answer the most important questions here.

What does the calculator show?

The calculator sums up the CO₂ emissions of individual foods and shows how much CO₂ a dish causes per serving. On the right are shown which ingredients are responsible for how much in the balance. The calculator shows how climate-friendly a dish is – in relation to the nutrient content, portion or caloric content of the food. Depending on the estimate, it may vary. The climatic friendliness of food can best be assessed with the help of the foods.

So you can see how you can make your food more climate friendly with just a few changes. It is often sufficient to replace a single ingredient or use less of it to significantly improve the CO₂ balance. You can enter your favorite dishes into the calculator – and see which ingredients are the most important.

From the farmer to the fork to the incineration: What is the composition of the CO₂ value of a dish?

The CO₂ emissions result from the journey of the food from the field through the factory and wholesale to the plate. All of these steps generate emissions – the removal of waste and packaging also causes emissions. The calculator also considers them. However, emissions for packaging, transportation from the supermarket home and electricity consumption for cooking are not included. The data comes from Eaternity AG, a Swiss company that advises restaurants and companies on how to calculate their environmental footprint.

How is the average dish on which the assessment is based calculated?

The company Eaternity determined the carbon footprint of 76,034 dishes and calculated that an average of 3994 grams of CO₂ per day is consumed to cover the daily requirement of food. The dishes in the calculator are compared with this value. We rate dishes as good for the climate that cause less CO₂ than a comparable average dish to cover a similar portion of the nutritional needs.

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Depending on whether the food is compared based on foods or calories, some dishes are rated differently despite similar CO₂ emissions. Foods that provide a lot of important nutrients tend to be rated as more climatic. The same goes – conversely, of course – to the name “bad”. Food is labeled as very good or very bad if it causes less than half or more than twice the CO₂, also converted to the nutritional value. Comparing the climate in terms of portions and calories, we only show the difference to the average dish.

What exactly is a CO₂ equivalent?

CO₂ equivalents are a unit that makes it even easier to classify whether food is good for the climate. Because the production of some foods emits not only CO₂ but also methane. This is another greenhouse gas that is also harmful to the climate. However, if only the CO₂ emissions were calculated, methane would not be included. That would improve the balance.

The calculator takes this into account not only by showing the CO₂ emissions, but also so-called “CO₂ equivalents”. The emissions of the methane gases are converted into CO₂ emissions using a scientific method. This is the only way foods can be compared to each other in terms of their climatic footprint.

Seasonality, packaging, CO₂ consumption during cooking: what the calculator does not take into account

The values ​​displayed by the calculator are intended to give orientation. But they certainly are not. Because these are average values ​​- it may be, for example, that the balance of a food product is much better in summer than in winter, because it is not imported or because it is matured in the sun instead of in the. heated greenhouse. The values ​​in the calculator show the average balances of food. The average is calculated from the tomatoes that have ripened in the Brandenburg sun and their winter equivalents from heated greenhouses. In individual cases, the climate balance can be significantly better or worse than what the computer shows.

Even if food is purchased unpackaged instead of in a plastic tray, the balance improves. But only slightly, because most of the emissions come from the very beginning: in agricultural production. The tool also does not calculate how much gas or electricity is used when cooking a dish.

The climate calculator is part of a series on food and climate. Here you can see the latest video on Berlin’s Indian cuisine and its hallmark:

And of course, when it comes to climate protection, not a single meal matters. But about the amount and eating behavior for longer periods of time. Beef fillet (200 grams) can be extremely harmful to the climate with 11,156 grams of CO₂. But vegetarian eating behavior can be just as bad for the climate for a longer period of time: Anyone who eats beef once a month, but in addition eats a particularly climate-friendly diet, consumes about as much CO₂ as someone who does. eat parmesan cheese daily for one month Food yield: 11 340 grams (378 grams per 40 grams per serving 30 days).

This is another reason why it makes sense to experiment with the computer. This way, you can assess your own eating behavior based on facts and find out which foods cloud your personal CO₂ balance. Even replacing beef or even pork with chicken can make a big difference. Not to mention tofu.

All articles and videos in the series

Papaya & Fries: The new video series

Restaurantkeeper Daeng Khamlao is in internal conflict. For the native Thai, Asian food is part of her identity. The ingredients are often imported from afar and therefore not necessarily climate-friendly or sustainable. How can Daeng cook in a climatic way without giving up the dishes from his homeland?

In the new video series that the Tagesspiegel produced with the Berlin production company Schuldberg Films, she goes looking for a solution to the dilemma. Daeng, who runs the “Panda Noodle” restaurant in Kreuzberg, visits various international restaurants and food professionals in Berlin in five episodes and has her kitchens shown to her. She tries to find out: How harmful is the climate, what type of cooking is it really? Can you replace goodies ingredients for Thai, African or Indian dishes with local ingredients? Or is that perhaps not necessary at all? She finds unusual dishes along the way – and perhaps some of Berlin’s future kitchens as well.

In the first episode, Daeng meets food economist Ann-Cathrin Beermann and shows her his own kitchen. It can be viewed at tagesspiegel.de or on YouTube.

The authors

Accessed January 12, 2022.
Last updated January 31, 2022.

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