Environmental Impact Evaluation of Legume-based Burger and Meat Burger
Casson, Andrea
Giovenzana, Valentina
Beghi, Roberto
Tugnolo, Alessio
Guidetti, Riccardo
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Casson A., Giovenzana V., Beghi R., Tugnolo A., Guidetti R., 2019, Environmental Impact Evaluation of Legume-based Burger and Meat Burger, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 75, 229-234.
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The industrial development leads to a consumption of natural resources and an increase of environmental impacts. The protection of human well-being and ecosystem are essential to obtain sustainable products. In this scenario, the reduction of environmental impact required for food productions collides with the population increase. A key aspect is the increase of the productivity and the reduction of the greenhouse gases emissions to allow continuity to the industrial development respecting the environmental system. The “Legume Genetic Resources as a tool for the development of innovative and sustainable food Technological system” (LeGeReTe) project is focused on the environmental impact of food products considering in particular legume-based food, which could represent an alternative to the traditional food. The object of the study is the comparison between the environmental impact of the legume-based burger production chain and of the traditional meat burger production chain. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method was applied to assess the environmental sustainability of the analysed case studies. A “from cradle to grave” approach was used, therefore agricultural phase, industrial process and domestic preparation were considered. The functional unit considered is 1 burger (100 g of product). The results of the environmental impact analysis for both the burger typologies showed that the agricultural phase is the most impacting one for most of the impact categories. Analysing the two food chains, the industrial process of legume-based burger provides the higher environmental impact respect to the meat burger. Moreover, the impact assessment of meat burger production chain, for most of the impact categories, reaches a value of 3-4 times greater than a legumes-based burger. Finally, with the aim of considering nutritional aspects to compare the impact values, a quantity of 15 g of protein (corresponding to the protein content of a meat burger of 100 g) was considered as a nutritional functional unit. To reach the same protein content for the meat burger, it’s necessary an intake of two legume-based burgers. Nevertheless, doubling the environmental damages of legume-based burger, the environmental impact related to meat burger remains higher.
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