Turkey, prawns or ham?

By

Greener

·

December 19, 2022

Discover what to dish up this Christmas that's better for the planet, and enjoy the holidays without the climate hangover.

Pleasing everyone is always a tough ask when it comes to planning the Christmas feast. Uncle Phil eats enough to feed a small army, Aunty Karen is super picky and apparently your baby bro is now keto. With so many fussy eaters it’s no wonder most of us stick to the fool proof menu - roast beef, turkey, prawns and ham. An Aussie tradition as popular as a Christmas Day swim.

What most of us don’t think about when doing our last-minute dash to the grocery store, is that what we choose to serve up during the holidays actually has a pretty big impact on our environment. And we’re not just talking about the fridge-load of leftovers that ends up getting thrown away after a couple of weeks eating cold turkey sandwiches.

What do we mean?

Well, whether we’re farming the land or the sea, everything we eat produces vastly different carbon emissions.From animal feed to fertilisers, machinery, irrigation and harvesting, processing in factories, transport and refrigeration. Every step in our food production chain has an impact from farm to fork.

So which foods are better for the environment?

Don’t worry, we’re not here to be a grinch and tell you you can’t eat what you want to eat. But swapping a dish or two and making sure you’re buying from local greener businesses means you can enjoy the holidays without giving the climate hangover.

Beef

No prizes for guessing that beef is by far the biggest contributor to CO2 producing nearly 2.5 times more than any other food type1. And while we’re on the topic of cows, our party platter of gouda isn’t so good-a for the environment either.That’s because both cows and sheep produce large quantities of methane, and methane is up to 34 times worse for the planet than other carbon emissions2.If you’ve got beef with cutting out beef, buy local to reduce transport emissions.

Turkey

Serving roast turkey instead of roast beef? You’re already making a better choice for the planet. Poultry on average emits 90% less CO2 than beef, but if you want to get even greener this holiday try swapping your big bird for a couple of smaller ones. You’ll be reducing your impact by roughly 37%

What might surprise you though, is which holiday staple is next on Santa’s climate naughty list.

Prawns

As a country surrounded by water, it’s no wonder that seafood is high on the menu. And, whilst there’s a growing demand for local, “sustainably sourced” seafood4, unfortunately the majority of our prawns are still imported from Asia5.Whether it’s wild caught or fish-farmed (aka aquaculture), our penchant for prawns is producing a surprising amount of carbon. In fact, 1kg of prawns produces roughly twice as much CO2 as chicken1Can’t imagine your Christmas without a prawn cocktail?

Choosing to buy local Australian prawns is a good way to reduce your carbon impact.

Ham

As a country surrounded by water, it’s no wonder that seafood is high on the menu. And, whilst there’s a growing demand for local, “sustainably sourced” seafood4, unfortunately the majority of our prawns are still imported from Asia5.Whether it’s wild caught or fish-farmed (aka aquaculture), our penchant for prawns is producing a surprising amount of carbon. In fact, 1kg of prawns produces roughly twice as much CO2 as chicken1Can’t imagine your Christmas without a prawn cocktail?

Choosing to buy local Australian prawns is a good way to reduce your carbon impact.

Or better yet…

Why not try swapping a dish or two for a vego option instead, and reduce your footprint even more.Check out some of our faves:

Sources:

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualising-the-greenhouse-gas-impact-of-each-food/

https://unfccc.int/news/new-methane-signs-underline-urgency-to-reverse-emissions#:~:text=Methane%20is%20a%20greenhouse%20gas,the%20latest%20IPCC%20Assessment%20Report.

https://www.businessinsider.com/the-top-10-foods-with-the-biggest-environmental-footprint-2015-9

https://www.agriculture.gov.au/sites/default/files/sitecollectiondocuments/fisheries/aus-seafood-trade.pdf

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/sustainability/the-provenance-of-a-prawn-how-sustainable-is-your-seafood-20191218-p53l8v.html

https://www.pork.com.au/ham-tips-and-tricks/