Life cycle environmental impacts of fruits consumption in the UK

Life cycle environmental impacts of fruits consumption in the UK

Journal of Environmental Management 248 (2019) 109111 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Journal of Environmental Management journal homepage...

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Journal of Environmental Management 248 (2019) 109111

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Journal of Environmental Management journal homepage:

Research article

Life cycle environmental impacts of fruits consumption in the UK Angelina Frankowska, Harish Kumar Jeswani, Adisa Azapagic


Centre for Sustainable Use of Energy in Food Chains, Sustainable Industrial Systems, School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, The Mill, Sackville Street, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK



Keywords: Life cycle assessment Environmental sustainability Food Energy Water footprint Climate change

Fruits are indispensable for a balanced and healthy diet. However, their environmental impacts remain largely unknown. Using a life cycle approach, this work estimates for the first time the impacts of fruits consumed in the UK. What makes the UK a particularly interesting case is that only 7% of fruits are produced domestically, with the rest imported, largely (70%) from outside of Europe. In total, 21 types of fruit and 46 fresh and processed products produced in the UK and abroad are considered to estimate the impacts at both the product and the national levels. The findings at the product level suggest that melons have the lowest and mangoes and avocados the highest impacts as a significant portion of the last two is air-freighted. Processing leads to high impacts of fruit juices, dried and frozen products. Storage has a considerable contribution to the impacts for fruits stored over a long period, such as apples. Packaging used for canned fruits and juices is also a significant contributor to the impacts. Taking the annual consumption into account, the whole UK fruit sector generates 7.9 Mt CO2 eq. and consumes 94 PJ of primary energy. This is equivalent to 4% of the annual GHG emissions and 9% of energy demand of the whole UK food sector. Moreover, fruits require 0.35 Mha of agricultural land and 315 Mm3 eq. of water per year. Oranges, bananas and apples are responsible for more than half of the impacts at the national level as they account for 64% of the total fruit consumption in the UK. It is expected that the results of this study will be of interest to different supply chain actors, including farmers, food processors and consumers, aiding them in reducing the environmental impacts of fruits.

1. Introduction A balanced diet is pivotal for a healthy well-being. Specifically, fruits provide essential vitamins and minerals, and therefore play a crucial role in preventing malnutrition. Moreover, a diet rich in fruits can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and pre-mature deaths (Oyebode et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2014). Acknowledging the importance of fruits, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends everyone to consume at least 400 g of fruits and vegetables every day (FAO/WHO, 2004). Both fresh and processed fruits, including juices, dried, frozen as well as canned fruits can be consumed to meet the required guidelines. While some recent studies have recommended to revise the guidelines to 800 g/day. capita to improve health and prevent diseases (Mujcic and Oswald, 2016; Aune et al., 2017), the average daily consumption of fruits and vegetables in most countries is below the current guidelines (GBD 2016 Risk Factors Collaborators, 2017). In the UK, for example, it is lower than 300 g/day·capita (Public Health England and Food Standards Agency, 2018). Apart from the relevance of dietary choices for a healthy nutrition, evaluating and reducing the environmental impacts of food systems are ∗

critical to ensuring sustainable supply chains. Although fruits are perceived to have lower impacts than some other products, such as meat and dairy (Sonesson et al., 2010), the environmental impacts of fruits depend on various factors. For instance, the impacts increase substantially when fruits are grown in heated greenhouses or are airfreighted (Carlsson-Kanyama, 1998; Marriott, 2005). Hence, in determining the environmental impacts of fruits, it is important to consider their whole supply chains. A number of life cycle assessment (LCA) studies have analysed environmental impacts of fruits, with cultivation of apples and strawberries being studied the most (Mouron et al., 2006a, 2006b; Lillywhite, 2008; Heller et al., 2016). The impacts of growing oranges, pears, peaches and lemons in various regions have also been examined (Cerutti et al., 2013; Pergola et al., 2013; Yan et al., 2016). Other publications have considered the system boundary beyond the farm to include the retail stage (Sim et al., 2007; Williams et al., 2008a, 2008b). Some studies have also compared the impacts of imported with domestically grown produce. In general, most of the papers have focussed on one type of fruit only (Sanjuán et al., 2005; Milà i Canals et al., 2006; Alaphilippe et al., 2014; Nikkhah et al., 2017). However, there are the

Corresponding author. E-mail address: [email protected] (A. Azapagic). Received 16 April 2019; Received in revised form 3 June 2019; Accepted 3 June 2019 Available online 07 August 2019 0301-4797/ © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Fossil depletion Freshwater eutrophication Freshwater eco-toxicity Food-energy-water Global warming potential Human toxicity Ionising radiation Ozone depletion Metal depletion

some exceptions. For instance, Stoessel et al. (2012) have analysed consumption of ten types of fruit in Switzerland but the study focused on the carbon and water footprints only. Similarly, Audsley et al. (2009) considered some fresh fruits in the UK, but only assessed their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The majority of other studies have also evaluated only one environmental impact, such as the carbon (Luske, 2010; Ingwersen, 2012; Brito de Figueirêdo et al., 2013; Iriarte et al., 2014) or water footprints or the energy consumption (Sikirica, 2011; Mohammadi-Barsari et al., 2016; Nabavi-Pelesaraei et al., 2016). Only a handful of studies (Milà i Canals et al., 2006; Mouron et al., 2006a, 2006b; Alaphilippe et al., 2014; Basset-Mens et al., 2016) have included some other impacts, such as eutrophication, acidification and eco-toxicity, but focusing on the production of a particular fruit in a particular country/region. However, the environmental implications of fruits might differ for various countries due to varying practices along the supply chain, including cultivation, storage and packaging. For instance, in the UK, storage of fruits in open display cabinets at retailers is common, while in some other European countries the same fruits are stored at ambient temperature. LCA studies of processed fruits are scarce or non-existent, with orange juice being the only product which has been the subject of some studies (Beccali et al., 2009; Doublet et al., 2013). Therefore, to fill this knowledge gap, the current study evaluates life cycle environmental impacts of a range of fresh and processed fruits, including frozen, dried and canned products as well as fruit juices. Their full supply chains are considered from cradle to grave. The focus is on fruits consumed in the UK, with 21 most-consumed types of fruit selected for study. Both home-grown and imported produce are analysed, considering various transportation modes. In total, 19 impacts are estimated, including global warming potential, land use, eutrophication, acidification,

Marine eutrophication Marine eco-toxicity Natural land occupation Primary energy demand Particulate matter formation Photochemical oxidant formation Terrestrial acidity Terrestrial eco-toxicity Urban land occupation Water footprint

human and eco-toxicities, primary energy demand and water footprint. The impacts are assessed at the product and UK levels, with the latter taking into account the annual consumption and the contribution of various fruits to the overall impacts. As far as the authors are aware, this is the first study of its kind internationally, considering an extensive range of fruit products under the same methodological framework, ensuring consistency in the system boundaries, assumptions and data. The next section details the methods used in the study. The results are presented in Section 3, first at the product and then at the national level. Finally, the conclusions of the study are summarised in Section 4. 2. Methods The environmental impacts have been estimated through LCA, following the ISO 14,040/14,044 guidelines (ISO, 2006a, 2006b). The methodology is detailed in the next section, following an overview of the UK fruits sector. 2.1. Overview of the fruits sector In the UK, fruits are fourth most consumed products, after dairy, vegetables and meat, with the annual consumption estimated at 4.93 Mt (DEFRA, 2014; ITC, 2018). By comparison, 9.04 Mt of dairy (AHDB, 2015), 10.8 Mt of vegetables (DEFRA, 2015; ITC, 2018) and 5 Mt of meat (ITC, 2018; AHDB, 2017) are consumed annually. As shown in Fig. 1, oranges and bananas are the most-consumed fruits, each accounting for 23% of the total consumption, followed by apples with 18%. Other citrus fruits, grapes and strawberries, as well as melons, pineapples and pears each account for 2%–6% of the total consumption. Stone fruits, other berries and grapefruits make up around 1%–2% each. Fruits which account for less than 0.5% of the total consumption

Fig. 1. Contribution of different fruits to the total consumption in the UK in 2013 (DEFRA, 2014, 2015; ITC, 2018). 2

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• product level: 1 kg of fresh and processed fruits; and • national level: annual consumption of all fruits in the UK.

each are excluded from the study. They are apricots, kiwis, cherries, papayas, dates and figs, which together represent 2.2% of total consumption of fruits in the UK. In total, 21 types of fruit consumed in the UK are considered in this study. A more detailed breakdown of the annual consumption of different types of fruit is given in Table 1. The majority of fruits (70%) are purchased as fresh, with the rest being processed products. Pure fruit juices represent the main category of processed fruits, accounting for 26% of the total fruit consumption (DEFRA, 2014; ITC, 2018). The most commonly consumed juices in the UK are orange, apple, pineapple and grapefruit, with the orange juice being the most consumed. In the category of frozen fruits, various frozen berries comprise the half, followed by peaches, apple slices and mangoes. Canned fruits consist predominantly of pineapples (26%), pears (24%) and mandarins (20%), followed by peaches, plums and mangoes (DEFRA, 2014, 2015; ITC, 2018). In the group of dried fruits, raisins (dried grapes) represent the majority. Dried plums and apples account for 14% and 9%, respectively. Bananas, pineapples, pears and mangoes are estimated to make up 1% each (CBI, 2016). Dry fruits are particularly popular in the UK, which represents the largest market for these products in Europe, accounting for 25% of all EU imports and 10% of global imports of dried fruits (CBI, 2016). Only five types of fruit consumed in the UK are produced domestically, representing just 7% of total consumption: apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries and some other berries, and plums. The rest is imported, largely (70%) from outside of Europe. Imports from Europe are predominantly from Spain. The countries of origin for different types of fruit are summarised in Table 1 with further details given in Table S1 in the Supplementary Information (SI).

In total, 21 types of fruit and 46 products are evaluated, considering fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits as well as their chips, juices (pure with no additives) and a combinations of dried and canned products. These represent 97.8% of the total amount of fruits consumed in the UK. The rest of the fruits are not considered as they each represent less than 0.5% of consumption. The study considers all life cycle stages from production to consumption, including farm production, storage, ripening, processing, packaging, retail and consumption, as well as transport and waste management along the supply chain (Fig. 2). These are described in more detail in the following sections. 2.3. Inventory data and assumptions 2.3.1. Farm production All fruits except berries are assumed to be cultivated in the field. Conventional farming is assumed for all fruits due to a lack of data on the share of organic farming in different countries and a lack of LCA data. Strawberries are grown in the field, in unheated or heated greenhouses, depending on the country and season. In the UK, 80% of strawberries are grown in the field in polyethylene tunnels with the rest produced in heated greenhouses. For imported strawberries from the Netherlands and Belgium, this ratio is assumed at 50:50. The same assumptions apply for the other imported berries from the Netherlands, Germany and Poland (see Table S1 for the import details). Strawberries and other berries imported from the Mediterranean and other nonEuropean countries are assumed to be entirely field-grown. The farm production data (up until harvesting) are based on the Ecoinvent database V3.3 (Ecoinvent, 2015). Since farm production data for grapefruits, mangoes, plums, raspberries and other berries are not available in the database, proxy data have been used. For grapefruits, data for oranges have been assumed, while for mangoes and plums, the average data for farm production for peaches and avocados have been used. The farm production of strawberries is used as a proxy for all types of berries. The impacts of peaches and nectarines are assumed to be the same, using the farm production data of peaches as a proxy for nectarines since no data are available for the cultivation of the latter.

2.2. Goal and scope of the study The main goal of this study is to evaluate the life cycle environmental impacts of fruits consumed in the UK, considering fresh and processed fruits produced domestically and abroad. The study first considers the impacts at the product level, followed by the impacts at the national level based on the annual consumption of fruits. For this reason, two functional units are considered, one at the product and another at the national level, as follows:

Table 1 An overview of the fruits sector in the UK (DEFRA, 2014, 2015; CBI, 2015; ITC, 2018; Statista Ltd, 2018) Fruits

Totala (t/yr)

Importeda (%)

Sold as freshb (%)

Sold as processed (%)

Apples Avocados Bananas Grapefruits Grapes Lemons Mandarins Mangoes Melons Oranges Other berriesd Peaches & nectarinese Pears Pineapples Plums Raspberries Strawberries

855,382 39,475 1,108,462 55,422 240,871 113,890 271,656 54,589 219,454 1,131,855 54,476 86,308 168,224 185,344 70,656 24,778 139,437

80 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 55 100 88 100 85 41 33

75 100 99 43 85 100 84 79 100 20 97 86 89 69 71 97 97

Juice-FCc (13%), juice-NFCc (9%), dried (2%), frozen (1%)

a b c d e f

Dried (0.5%), chips (0.5%) Juice-FCc (34%), juice-NFCc (23%) Dried (15%) Canned (16%) Canned (19%), frozen (1.5%), dried (0.5%) Juices-FCc (48%), juice-NFCc (32%) Frozen (3%) Canned peaches (25%), frozen peaches (6%) Canned (10%), dried (1%) Juice-FCc (13%), juice-NFCc (9%), canned (8.6%), dried (0.6%) Canned plums (7%), canned prunesf (14%), dried (8%) Frozen (3%) Frozen (3%)

Estimated based on UK production, imports and exports quantities (DEFRA, 2015; ITC, 2018). Estimated based on household purchases and trade statistics (DEFRA, 2014; BSDA, 2014; ITC, 2018; CBI, 2016). FC: from concentrate; NFC: not-from-concentrate. Source for the percentage of concentrate and NFC juices: Statista Ltd (2018). Other berries: blueberries, blackberries, currents and cranberries. The first two are the most consumed types of berry. Peaches: 69% fresh, nectarines: 100% fresh. Prunes are dried plums. 3

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Fig. 2. The fruits life cycle stages considered in the study (T: Transportation).

2.3.2. Post-harvest treatment and storage Fruits are treated after the harvest to prevent deterioration during storage and transportation. The post-harvest treatment depends on the type of fruits and is summarised in Table 2. Apples and pears are treated using the pesticide diphenylamine (DPA) to prevent scald (a skin disorder) and are also dipped into a calcium chloride (CaCl2) solution to prevent bitter pit (a taste disorder caused by calcium deficiency). Due to a lack of LCA data for DPA, the inventory data for general pesticides in Ecoinvent (2015) have been used as a proxy. Grapes require fumigation with sulphur dioxide (SO2) as mould inhibitor. Mangoes and avocados go through hot water treatment to prevent insect infestation and control decay (Sivakumar et al., 2011). For this purpose, they are immersed into hot water tanks with a water temperature of up to 55 °C for up to 90 min; natural gas is used to heat the water (AGSI/FAO, 2002; Mendoza Orbegoso et al., 2017). Tropical fruits, such as bananas, pineapples and citrus fruits, as well as mangoes and avocados, are treated with pesticides before being exported (Sivakumar et al., 2011; WRAP, 2011; Bill et al., 2014; Charmaine, 2016). The data for pesticide application for pineapples have also been assumed for mangoes and citrus fruits. Pineapples are washed with detergents to conform with hygiene standards and the same has been assumed for melons (Parnell et al., 2005). In the case of bananas, port operations are also accounted for, including electricity and diesel used for temperature control (Table 2). No special post-harvest treatment is considered for the following fruits: peaches, nectarines, plums, strawberries, raspberries and other berries. For the berries this is due to their fragile nature and for the other fruits no information was found on any post-harvest treatments. Fruits are kept in cold storage to prevent spoilage and extend their shelf life. The data for electricity consumption for storage for most fruits have been obtained from Stoessel et al. (2012). The missing data for

mangoes, peaches, nectarines, plums and berries have been estimated based on the storage duration and temperatures (Table 3). 2.3.3. Processing Fresh fruits undergo some basic cleaning at packing houses, while dried, frozen and canned fruits as well as fruit juices require further processing. All fresh fruits, except fresh berries, are washed, sorted and packed at packing houses and then distributed to regional distribution centres (RDC). The energy consumption at packing houses for various fruits is provided in Table 4. Fruits are further processed to be sold as fruit juices, canned, frozen and dried fruits. Both dried fruits and juices require a high input of fresh fruits to produce 1 kg of processed product, as indicated in Table 5. For frozen and canned fruits, such as mangoes, the input of fresh fruits is also high since the stones and skin are removed prior to freezing and canning. The energy demand of processed fruits and the refrigerant leakage for frozen products are given in Table 6. Fruits with a thin skin are assumed to be steamed-peeled, whereas mangoes, pineapples and bananas are considered to be mechanically peeled. Before freezing and canning, fruits are peeled, blanched and cut after washing and sorting, except berries, which are not peeled or cut. For canned fruits, additional processing is required, including cooking, pasteurising and cooling. For the juice production, both natural juices, known as ‘not-fromconcentrate’ (NFC) and juices made from concentrates (FC) are considered. In the UK, FC juices account for 60% of the total consumption, with the remainder being NFC juices (Statista Ltd, 2018). Data for juice production are based on orange juice processing (Beccali et al., 2009) assuming similar processing steps for other fruits, including washing, extraction, refining and pasteurisation. Natural juices are refrigerated and packaged after pasteurisation to be distributed to retailers. Juices 4

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66.9 (Mendoza Orbegoso et al., 2017; AGSI/FAO, 2002)

2.4 (Ingwersen, 2012)

71 (Luske, 2010) 0.59 (Luske, 2010)

1.3 (Pannitteri et al., 2017) 8.4 (Ingwersen, 2012)

Data sources are given in brackets within the table. a

Soap (mg/kg) Sodium hypochlorite (g/kg) Electricity (kJ/kg) Diesel (ml/kg) Heat (kJ/kg)

SO2 (mg/kgfruit)

Water (kg/kg)

25 (Food Standards Agency, 2016) 8.1 (AHDB, 2016; Meisami-asl et al., 2009) 0.597 (AHDB, 2016; Meisami-asl et al., 2009) Diphenylamine (mg/kg) CaCl2 (g/kg)

Pesticides (mg/kg)

31 (Crisosto et al., 2001a, 2001b)

2.4 (Ingwersen, 2012)

0.27 (Mendoza Orbegoso et al., 2017; AGSI/FAO, 2002)

8.4 (Ingwersen, 2012)

4.3 (Iriarte et al., 2014)

Oranges Bananas Mangoes/avocados Pineapples/melons Grapes Apples/pears Inputs

Table 2 Chemicals and energy inputs for post-harvest treatment of various fruitsa.

made from concentrates undergo two additional processing steps after pasteurisation: the concentrate production and the reconstitution. The obtained juice is concentrated by evaporation to 62–70 °Brix (density, referring to the percentage of soluble solids, the majority of which are sugars). During reconstitution, the concentrate is blended with water and pasteurised again (Reyes-De-Corcuera et al., 2014). The amount of water and concentrate required for 1 L of juice has been estimated based on the Brix value of the concentrate and the juice and the juice density (Table 7), based on mass balance. The juice production generates pulp residues as a by-product, which is used for animal feed. Additionally, essential oils are obtained from citrus juice production. Economic allocation has been applied for the by-products. In the case of pineapple and apple juices, 99% of the impacts are allocated to the juices while for the orange and grapefruit juices, 92% of the impacts are allocated to the juice. The prices for the juices, the animal feed (dried citrus pulp), and the essential oils are assumed at £1.23, £0.175, and £13 per kg of product, respectively (Beccali et al., 2009; DEFRA, 2014; Redman, 2016). The pulp residues account for 25%–30% of processed fruits, while the essential oils amount to 0.5% (Shalini and Gupta, 2010; Doublet et al., 2013; Maslovarić et al., 2017). Canned fruits contain about 40% of syrup or fruit juice based on own retail survey. Due to a lack of specific data, an equal proportion of canned fruits in juice and syrup is assumed. For the syrup, a sugar concentration of 20–25 °Brix is considered, resulting in 0.29 kgsugar/L (Featherstone, 2015, 2016). In the case of plums, both fresh and dried plums are sold as canned (Featherstone, 2016). Drying is another way to preserve fruits. There are several fruit drying methods; however, the majority of industrial processes (85%) are based on hot air convective drying (Aghilinategh et al., 2015; Beigi, 2016). Furthermore, solar drying is still common practice in many countries (Tiwari, 2016). Table 8 shows the proportion of fruits being sun-dried based on the exporting country, with the remainder being dried in ovens with hot air. Apples and pears are entirely dried in ovens in the producing countries considered here (ITC, 2018). The energy demand for the convective drying is calculated based on the amount of water removed and the energy consumed by the dryer (Table 9). It is assumed that 92.5% of the energy is heat from natural gas and the rest is electricity (Anderson, 2014). Bananas are consumed as dried bananas and as banana chips. Banana chips are pre-treated before the drying process by frying the banana slices in coconut oil or in palm oil after peeling and cutting them (Mui et al., 2002). During frying, bananas lose about 32% of their water content (Manjunatha et al., 2012). Based on the packaging information, the banana chips contain 55% banana, 30% oil and 15% sugar and so this composition has been assumed in the study. The dehydration of grapes requires pre-treatment to remove the natural protective wax layer, which inhibits the drying process. Grapes are either dipped in or sprayed with 6% alkaline solution of potassium carbonate (potassium hydroxide and/or sodium hydroxide) containing 1.5% of vegetable oil (Kassem et al., 2011; Doymaz, 2012; Wang et al., 2016). In this study, potassium carbonate has been assumed as the pretreatment agent. A total of 0.05625 L of solution is required per kg of grapes (Sharma et al., 2014). After the drying and processing of dried grapes, a small quantity (5%) of vegetable oil is added to the final product (Özer, 2011). Pineapples are commonly pre-treated by osmotic dehydration to reduce the water content and are then sun- or oven-dried (Gloria Lobo and Paull, 2017). Mangoes are also generally pre-treated by osmotic dehydration in Thailand and India but not in South Africa and Ghana (CBI, 2014). Osmotic dehydration involves immersing fruits in a 50%–60% sugar solution for several hours (Madamba and Lopez, 2002; Gloria Lobo and Paull, 2017), during which sugar diffuses in and water out of the fruit cells (Ahmed et al., 2016; Shete et al., 2018). Table 10 details the water loss and the sugar gain of osmotically-dehydrated pineapples and mangoes. 5

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Table 3 Storage energy for fruits (Crisosto et al., 2001a, 2001b; Garnett, 2006; Sivakumar et al., 2011; Stoessel et al., 2012). Fruit

Storage temperature (°C)

Storage time (days)

Storage energy (MJ/

Storage energy (kJ/kg)


Mangoes Peaches Nectarines Plums Raspberries Other berries

7–10 0–2 0–2 0–2 0–2 0–2

17.5 14 14 14 6 6

2.7 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4

47.25 75.6 75.6 75.6 32.4 32.4

Assumed the same as peaches -IIAssumed the same as strawberries -II-

All dried fruits are washed and sorted. Before packaging, dried fruits are additionally preserved by applying 5.5 g/kgfruit of sulphur dioxide (FAO, 2007). Water and detergents used for cleaning of the equipment are considered for all processing stages. It is assumed that sodium hydroxide (3.8 g/kg fruits) and nitric acid (0.14 g/kg fruits) are used as detergents (Doublet et al., 2013).

assumed for road transport. These apply both in the UK and in the countries of origin for imported produce. Fresh produce is transported by air, sea and road. The percentage of air-freighted fruits is given in Table 14, with the remainder being imported by sea or road (Marriott, 2005). Processed fruits are not airfreighted but instead shipped or transported by road. The estimated distances and the transportation modes for the imported fruits are listed in Table 15. Sea shipping and air-freighting include road transportation to the ports, assuming a generic distance of 350 km. For refrigerated transport, data for ambient transport in Ecoinvent (2010) have been modified by adding a refrigerant and increasing fuel consumption and related emissions by 20% (DEFRA, 2008).

2.3.4. Ripening Fresh climacteric fruits (those that ripen after the harvest), such as avocados, bananas, melons mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums, are imported unripe and then sent to ripening facilities to initiate ripening under controlled conditions by applying ethylene and managing the temperature. Some of the fruits are sold unripe, where the ripening process is only initiated, triggering the fruits’ own ethylene production to ripen them. The data for ethylene and electricity required for the ripening have been estimated based on the ripening period for each fruit and using the ripening data for bananas (Table 11).

2.3.7. Distribution and retail The storage of fresh fruits in RDC and at retailers depends on their perishability. Based on UK practice, grapes, berries, lemons, oranges, peaches and ripe avocados are assumed to be stored in refrigerators and the rest of the fruits at ambient temperature (Table 16). The electricity consumption and refrigerant leakage for different fruits at RDC and retailers have been estimated based on DEFRA (DEFRA, 2008), which provides data for apples and strawberries. For fruit juices as well as citrus and stone fruits, which have longer storage times, data for chilled ready-made meals have been assumed (DEFRA, 2008). Similarly, the data for frozen fruits have been estimated based on the DEFRA data for frozen peas and chips (Table 16). Leakage of refrigerants is considered at retailers and during refrigerated transport (Table 16). RDC use ammonia as refrigerant, which has a low global warming potential and low leakage rate (DEFRA, 2008) and is hence not considered. For the retail stage, it is assumed that 15% of the refrigerant load leaks annually, while for transport, the leakage rate is 17.5% (DEFRA, 2008). A commonly used refrigerant R404A (a blend of R-134a, R-125 and R-143a) is assumed for both the retail and transport stages (DEFRA, 2008).

2.3.5. Packaging In the UK, 70% of the fresh fruits are pre-packed, while the rest are sold loose (Garnett, 2006). Low density polyethylene (LDPE) bags, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) punnets and paper trays are generally used for primary packaging of fresh fruits (Milà i Canals et al., 2008; Roy et al., 2008; Stoessel et al., 2012; WRAP, 2014). Cardboard is considered as secondary packaging for all fruits (Roy et al., 2008; WRAP, 2014). Frozen and dried fruits are assumed to be packaged in LDPE bags and canned fruits in tinplate cans (Garofalo et al., 2017). The majority (73%) of fruit juices are packaged in carton boxes Barkman et al., 1999) and the rest in PET (20%) and glass bottles (7%) (Doublet et al., 2013; BSDA, 2014). Juices are often produced overseas and transported to the UK in bulk, either in steel drums or in plastic flexi-bags (Liu, 2003; TetraPak, 2017; CBI, 2018a, 2018b). The proportions of drum and flexibags used in bulk transport have been obtained from Dargan (2011). Table 12 details the different packaging materials along with the packaging weights for fresh and processed fruits.

2.3.8. Household consumption Household refrigeration is considered for the fruits which are refrigerated at retailer, apart from oranges, which are generally not chilled at home. Fresh fruits are assumed to be stored for five days, fruit juices are refrigerated for seven days, while frozen fruits are assumed to be kept for 30 days. The electricity consumption for refrigeration of

2.3.6. Transport Transportation is considered in each life cycle stage, including ambient and refrigerated trucks. Table 13 summarises the distances Table 4 Energy demand for fresh fruits in packing houses. Fruits

Electricity (kJ/kg)

Apples Mangoes Oranges Pineapples Bananas Avocados Melons Grapefruits Lemons Mandarins Remaining fruits

216 219.6 51 122 50.1 219.6 219.6 51 51 51 216

Water (L/kg) 0.88



Reference/notes WRAP (2014) Ives (2010); Sivakumar et al. (2011) Lo Giudice et al. (2013) Ingwersen (2012) Luske (2010) Assumed the same as mangoes -IIAssumed the same as oranges -II-IIAssumed the same as apples

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Table 5 Amount of fresh fruits required for processed products. Fruit

Dried fruits (kgfresh/kgdried)

Juices (kgfresh/kgjuice)

Apples Bananas (chips/dried) Pineapples Grapes Pears Mangoes (w/o pre-treatment) Peaches Plums Oranges & grapefruits Mandarins

5.65 2.85/3.52 6.45 4.74 5.17 4.26 (3.86)

1.37 1.54



Edible fruit excl. peel and stone (%)


62 39

Hegger and Haan (2015) Kawongolo (2013) Hegger and Haan (2015); FAO (2005)

72 90 90 58 74

Shafique et al. (2007) Deshmukh et al. (2012) Deshmukh et al. (2012) Hegger and Haan (2015); TetraPak (2018) Yehia et al. (2009)

fresh and frozen fruits, as well as the juices has been estimated based on the total energy consumption of a fridge, its capacity, storage duration and the specific volume of the product. The mean annual energy used by fridge-freezers of 260 L is 444 kWh (Palmer et al., 2013). It is assumed that on average 40% of the appliance capacity is occupied, which corresponds to the average of a full fridge (70% load) and an empty fridge (15% load), since the occupation of the appliance will vary over time (WRAP, 2013b). The assumptions on the specific volumes of the various fruits are shown in Table 17. Refrigerant leakage has not been considered as domestic fridge-freezers do not leak.

Table 7 Fruit juice reconstitution from concentrates (Charrondiere et al., 2012; ReyesDe-Corcuera et al., 2014; BSDA, 2016; Cobell Ltd, 2016).

2.3.9. Waste management The proportion of waste generated in different life cycle stages is summarised in Table 18. As shown, waste data for the pre-consumption stages are available only for apples, avocados, bananas, citrus fruits, strawberries and raspberries. For household consumption, data on waste are available for most fruits. To fill the data gaps, proxy data have been used for some fruits; where no proxy was suitable, the average values based on the literature (WRAP, 2011, 2013a) have been assumed. Waste management options in different life cycle stages practised in the UK have been considered as shown in Table 19 (WRAP, 2016).

Table 8 Share of sun-dried imported fruitsa.


Concentrate (°Brix)

Juice (°Brix)

Density (kg/L)

Concentrate (kg)

Water (L)

Apple Grapefruit Orange Pineapple

70 61.5 65 62.5

11.2 10 11.2 12.8

1.04 1.038 1.038 1.05

0.1664 0.1688 0.1789 0.2154

0.8736 0.8692 0.8591 0.8363


Share of solar drying (%)


Bananas Grapes

50 86

Plums Pineapples Mangoes

45 50 35.5

Assumption Doymaz (2012); Wang et al. (2016); Marketing Board/Raisin Administrative Committee (2018) Norton and Krueger (2007); Chile Prunes (2015) Assumption CBI (2014, 2017)

a For the countries of origin and the share of imported fruits, see Table S1 in the SI.

2.3.10. Water use and water footprint The water consumption has been estimated for each life cycle stage, accounting for both direct and indirect use. Only blue water is considered as this type of water is used for estimations of the water footprint (Pfister et al., 2009). The data on water use for farm irrigation have been obtained from Mekonnen and Hoekstra (2010). Water used in the processing stage to wash fruits and for other processes (for processed fruits) is summarised in Table 20. The data on indirect water consumption for energy use, packaging and fuels can be found in Table 21. The water demand for chemicals used in the processing of fruits is estimated based on their energy demand. The water demand for metal and glass packaging has been sourced from Gerbens-Leenes et al.

(2018) and, for the plastic packaging, from PlasticsEurope (2008). The methodology proposed by Pfister et al. (2009) has been used to estimate the water footprint. This considers the volume of blue water weighted for the water stress index (WSI) of each fruit-producing country. The WSI for the UK and the countries from which the UK imports the fruits can be found in the SI Table S2. 2.3.11. Summary of assumptions and limitations Although the various assumptions made in study have been detailed in the previous sections, they are summarised in this section to provide

Table 6 Energy demand for processing of fruit products and refrigerant leakage for frozen fruits. Processing step

Electricity (kJ/kg)

Heat (MJ/kg)

Steam (g/kg)

Refrigerant leakagea (mg/kg)


Blanching Peeling (steam) Peeling (pineapples, mangoes) Peeling (bananas) Slicing/cutting Freezing Canned fruits Juice (not-from-concentrate) Juice (from-concentrate) Reconstitution

30.96 12.6 12.0 60 32.4 648 200 149.7 5522 138.0

– – – – – – 2.58 0.36 10.87 0.36

137 900 – – – – – 48 3060 48

– – – – – 46.2b – – – –

European Commission (2006) European Commission (2006) ABL S.p.A. (2018); PND srl. (2018) Rahul (2014) European Commission (2006) European Commission (2006); DEFRA (2008) Masanet et al. (2008) Beccali et al. (2009) Beccali et al. (2009) Masanet et al. (2008); Beccali et al. (2009)

c Not-from-concentrate juices do not require refrigeration as they are pasteurised. They are refrigerated at the retailer for consumer convenience (see Table 16). a R-404A (a blend of R-134a, R-125 and R-143a. b Based on the annual leakage rate of 15% (DEFRA, 2008). 7

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Table 9 Energy consumption for convective drying based on the amount of water removed from fresh fruits (estimated based on Finglas et al., 2015; Manjunatha et al., 2012; Sanjuán et al., 2014). Fruits

Fresh dry matter (%)

Apples Bananas Bananas (chips) Grapes Mangoes Mangoes pre-treated Pears Pineapples Plums

14% 25% 25% 18% 18% 18% 15% 14% 16%

a b c

Pre-treated dry matter (%)

47% 36.7% 35%

Dried dry matter (%)

Fresh fruit required (kg)

78% 88% 88% 86% 75% 75% 77% 87% 69%

5.65 3.52 3.52 4.74 4.83 4.26 5.17 6.45 4.28

Pre-treated (kg)

2.85 3.13 5.00

Water removeda (kg)

Energy (MJ/kgdried

4.65 2.52 1.39 3.74 3.83 1.73 4.17 3.13 3.28

55.83 20.47c 11.32 41.14 39.14 20.76 50.03 37.50 36.07

b fruit)

In the case of pre-treated fruits, the water removed refers to the evaporated water after the fruits are osmotically dehydrated. The energy demand of an oven dryer is 12 MJ/kgevaporated water (Sanjuán et al., 2014). The energy required to dry bananas in convective ovens is 8.12 MJ/kgevaporated water (Kawongolo, 2013).

an overview of the limitations of the study. It is hoped that the latter can be addressed in future studies through provision of the currentlymissing data. Agriculture: Proxy data have been used for some fruits where data on farm production were not available, using data for the cultivation of comparable types of fruit, as follows:

only some have been considered due to limited data. Ripening: Data on ripening practices for the different fruits are scarce, including the ripening periods, the amount of ethylene used and energy consumed for temperature control. These have been estimated for different climacteric fruits based on the banana ripening data. The share of ripened fruits at retailers and ripening duration have been assumed based on a UK retail survey. Packaging: Average values have been used for the secondary packaging, based on the data available for a few types of fruits. Similarly, packaging for canned and fresh fruits is based on the respective tomato packaging. PET tray packaging is based on own measurements. For the bulk packaging used for fruit juices, the dimensions of the aseptic bag have been calculated based on the steel drum volume. Furthermore, some fruits are packaged in different packaging types where these data were not available, equal share has been assumed. Retail: The different storage practices at the retailer are not documented, with data on refrigerated storage being available only for strawberries and apples. Therefore, the refrigerated storage has been assumed based on own retail survey. The storage periods, electricity consumption and refrigerant leakage have been estimated based on the data for strawberries and apples, assuming comparable storage for soft and hard fruits, respectively. Household consumption: Data on storing fruits by the consumer are not available and storage times recommended by fruit producers and retailers have been used instead. Disposal: The amount of waste generated in the pre-consumption stages is available only for some types of fruit and the missing data have been supplemented by suitable proxy or average data for the other similar fruits. The proxy data have been chosen based on the fruit groups; for instance, waste generated in the avocados supply chain is also assumed for mangoes since both belong to the group of stone fruits, they are climacteric fruits and entirely imported from tropical countries. For waste management of imported products, UK practices have been assumed due to a lack of data for the exporting countries.

• cultivation of peaches and nectarines is assumed to be the same; • cultivation of mangoes and plums has been approximated with the average data for the other stone fruits considered in the study; and • cultivation of berry fruits has been approximated with strawberries and grapefruits by oranges.

For imported berry fruits, the share of greenhouse production has been estimated due to a lack of specific data. Furthermore, agricultural practices are assumed to be comparable in similar climates. Therefore, where country-specific data were not available, they have been approximated with similar regions. Post-harvest and storage: The post-harvest treatment of pears has been approximated by that of apples as both are stored over long periods and are treated in a similar way. Furthermore, data on generic instead on specific pesticides have been used. The storage times have been estimated for some fruits based on recommended storage periods and the energy consumption during storage has been assumed to be the same for similar types of fruit (e.g. soft, stone, etc.). Processing: a) Fresh produce: The missing processing data for fresh produce have been approximated by comparable fruit types, such as tropical, soft, stone and similar. b) Fruit juices: The energy consumption for producing orange juice has been used for all types of juice. The data for reconstitution from concentrates have been estimated. c) Canned fruits: Equal share of canned fruits in juice and syrup has been assumed. Furthermore, the amounts of juice and syrup are based on own retail survey. d) Dried fruits: Methods for drying fruits vary across different fruits and countries. Due to a lack of specific data, dehydration treatments used most commonly in industry have been assumed. The energy consumption has been estimated based on the amount of evaporated water; however, the water content may vary among batches which will change the energy requirements. Pre-treatment methods and agents also vary, with no data availability on the share and amounts used. For instance, a number of agents are used before drying grapes, of which

3. Results and discussion The life cycles of fruits have been modelled using GaBi V6 (PE International, 2014). The LCA impacts have been estimated according to the ReCiPe 2008 method (Goedkoop et al., 2013). In addition, the

Table 10 Osmotic dehydration of pineapple and mango slices. Fruit

Water loss (%)

Solids gain (%)

Sugar intake (g/kgfresh

Pineapples Mangoes

32–40 30–42

12–15 9

135 93



Reference (Khanom et al., 2014; Silva et al., 2014) (Madamba and Lopez, 2002; Oladejo et al., 2013)

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Table 11 Ripening conditions assumed for various fruits. Fruit

Ripening time (days)

Ethylene (g/kgfruit)

Electricity (kJ/kgfruit)


Bananas Pears Peaches Mangoes Avocados Melons

5 1.5 1 2 1.18 0.5

0.37 0.111 0.074 0.074 0.0874 0.037

491.2 147.4 98.2 98.2 116 49.1

Luske (2010) (Agar et al., 2000; Makkumrai et al., 2014; Charoenchongsuk et al., 2018) Crisosto and Valero (2008) AGSI/FAO (2002) Pedreschi et al. (2016) Cantwell (2015)

water footprint has been estimated using Pfister et al. (2009) approach and primary energy demand (net calorific value) using GaBi (PE International, 2014). The results for the product level are discussed first in the next section, followed by the total annual impacts at the UK level in Section 3.2.

mangoes, although only 28% of all mangoes are imported by air. Transport also contributes to half of the PED for melons, pineapples and bananas as they travel long distances and are refrigerated. Moreover, a small portion of pineapples (8%) and melons (1%) are also airfreighted. The contribution of transport is also significant (26%–35%) for avocados, mandarins, grapes and berries. For the remaining fruits, transport contributes 17%–21% of the total, except for strawberries and oranges for which it accounts for 5%–11%. The farm production is the highest contributor for berries, avocados, plums, mandarins and apples. For berries, PED of farm production is mainly due to cultivation in heated greenhouses in the UK. Imported berries have a lower PED for cultivation as they are field grown, despite the energy used for transport. This is exemplified for the case of strawberries in Figs. S1 and S8. For avocados, apples and mandarins, irrigation is the main energy user in farm production. In the case of plums, much of the PED is due to dried plums, which require more than 4 kg of fresh fruit to produce 1 kg of dried product. For the remaining fruits, farm production accounts for 8%–20%, with oranges and pineapples having the lowest energy demand at the farm level. Energy demand in processing is considerable for fruits which are converted into juices and processed products. Plums have the highest PED in the processing stage (9.4 MJ/kg) due to the high proportion of canned and dried plums (21% and 8%, respectively) (see Fig. S7). In particular, convective oven dehydration is energy intensive (Table 9). Also, canned plums consume more energy compared to the other canned fruits, since the majority are dried before canning. Juice production from concentrate requires more energy than NFC juice as evaporation in concentrate production is the most energy intensive stage. Moreover, juice from concentrate is pasteurised twice, once after producing the concentrate and the second time after reconstitution. As a result, processing accounts for 13%–24% of PED for orange, apple, pineapple and grapefruit juices. The energy demand in the packaging stage is notable for canned fruits and juices. For example, packaging accounts for 18%–22% of the total PED for mandarins, peaches and plums as 16%–25% of these fruits

3.1. Impacts at the product level The environmental impacts discussed in this section represent the overall impacts of each fruit consumed in the UK, taking into account the proportion of fresh and processed products imported and produced domestically (see Table 1). The functional unit for this part of the analysis is 1 kg of fruits. A detailed breakdown of all impacts for individual fruits and product types can be found in Figs. S1–S37 in the SI. Note that the term “other berries” shown in the figures in the paper and the SI refers to blueberries, blackberries, currants and cranberries. 3.1.1. Primary energy demand (PED) As shown in Fig. 3, the PED of fruits ranges from 9 MJ/kg for melons to 53 MJ/kg for mangoes. The latter are followed by berries (34–38 MJ/ kg). The results also suggest that processed products have significantly higher PED than the fresh due to energy used for processing and packaging. An exception to this is grapes where both the fresh and dried fruits have an equal PED (Fig. S3), despite the energy required for the drying process. This is due to the energy required for fresh grapes in the retail (refrigeration), transportation (higher water content) and packaging stages, which balances out the additional energy required for drying. It should also be noted that the majority of grapes are sun-dried (86%; see Table 8). Furthermore, imported products require more energy than those grown in the UK due to the additional transport (Fig. S1). Imported strawberries are an exception, with a lower PED than the home-grown fruit, since the consumption of energy for heated greenhouses is greater than for transport. Transport is the highest contributor for mangoes, accounting for 64% of the total PED. This is largely due to the air-freighted fresh Table 12 Packaging for fresh and processed fruits. Packaging type

Material type (g/kgfruit)a PEb

Plastic bag Punnet with wrap Paper tray with wrap Can Carton (juice) PET bottle (juice) Glass bottle (juice) Drum (bulk juice) Flexi-bag (bulk juice) Box a b c d e


3.9 3.7 6.14 7.2 9.2 5.9 0.4 4






43 0.273


1.4 1.55 2.97





19.8 630


Cardboarde 6 115 76 76 2.4 150 60–70.9

The weight of the packaging materials is based on own measurements. PE: polyethylene. PP: polypropylene. PET: polyethylene terephthalate. Secondary packaging. Data sourced from pineapple and banana pack houses (Luske, 2010; Ingwersen, 2012). 9

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Table 13 Assumed distances in different life cycle stages. Life cycle stage

Distance (km)

Truck type, temperature


Farm to storage Storage to processing Storage to ripening facilitya To retailer To waste facility

50 100 1061 95 100


Assumption Assumption Compagnie Fruitiere UK Limited (2018) DEFRA (2008) Assumption


ambient ambient refrigerated refrigerated ambient

Average distance from storage to ripening facilities, which are mainly located in France and Spain.

of their total PED, while the cardboard packaging accounts for 12%–16% of PED of melons and bananas. The storage stage is a significant contributor (19%–21%) to the energy demand of apples and pears, as they are stored in cold storage for five to seven months. For bananas, the ripening stage has a notable contribution (11%), since the ripening time is relatively long (five days). The retail stage is the main user of energy for lemons, oranges and peaches, accounting for 31%–54% of the total as they are stored in open display refrigeration cabinets. Refrigerated retail is also a significant contributor for grapefruits, grapes, strawberries and raspberries, consuming 21%–25% of the total PED. Finally, household consumption and disposal have a relatively low energy demand (< 4%).

Table 14 Percentage of air-freighted fresh fruits (Marriott, 2005). Fruits

Percentage (%)


Percentage (%)

Grapes Mangoes Melons Nectarines Peaches

4.1 27.5 0.8 1.5 3.0

Pineapples Plums Strawberries Raspberries Other berries

7.6 1.6 6.8 19.3 19.0

Table 15 Transport distances for fruits imported to the UK by road, air and sea (, 2016;, 2018). Country of origin

Argentina Australia Austria Belgium Brazil Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Cyprus Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt France Germany Ghana Greece Honduras

Distance (km)

Country of origin




350 350 1234 318 350 350 350 350 350

14,000 23,200

11,100 17,000

12,000 17,400 19,200 11,000 12,300 6300 7000

8800 11,700 8100

350 350 344 929 350 2391 350

11,000 5700 7700 5800 12,000

8700 3200

3500 5100 8600

India Indonesia Israel Italy Jordan Mexico Morocco Netherlands New Zealand Pakistan Peru Philippines Poland Portugal South Africa Spain Thailand Turkey USA

Distance (km) Road



350 350

12,700 16,600 6800

6700 11,700 3600

7300 15,200 3500

3600 8900 2000

26,600 12,600 14,800

18,800 6000 10,200



1433 350 350 350 356 350 350 350 350 1445 1266 350 2832 350

1600 13,000 1432 16,600 6000 8800

3.1.2. Water footprint (WF) Fig. 4 shows that both water consumption and the WF of fruits vary widely. Avocados have the highest WF (824 L eq./kg), followed by mangoes (686 L eq./kg) and plums (305 L eq./kg). This is because these fruits are largely imported from water-stressed countries where the water requirements for irrigation are significant due to the warm climate. For instance, all of the avocados are sourced from regions with extreme water stress, such as Israel, Chile, South Africa and Peru. Furthermore, 87% of mangoes are imported from water-stressed countries like Peru, Pakistan, India and Thailand, and 76% of plums are grown in similarly water-deprived regions, including Spain, South Africa and Greece. A large share of oranges, mandarins and melons are also imported from water-stressed countries, hence a higher WF. On the other hand, bananas and pineapples have the lowest WF (4 and 6 L eq./ kg, respectively) as these are imported from Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica which have a low WSI (< 0.2) and prevailing tropical rainforest climates or microclimates. In general, the WF of imported fruits is much higher compared to the home-grown (see SI Fig. S9). The greatest difference between the WF of imported and domestic fruits is found for raspberries (53 times) and plums (45 times). Imported pears, strawberries and apples have 6–10 times higher WF than those grown in the UK. All other fruits are imported so comparison with the domestic production is not possible. As shown in Fig. 4, farm production is responsible for more than 80% of the WF across most fruit types. This is due to the irrigation water, specifically in warmer countries. The exception to this is pineapples and bananas for which the farm production contributes 58% and

9000 9500 5900

are sold as canned. For oranges, pineapples and grapefruits, the packaging consumes between 12% and 16% of PED, due to the use of steel drums for the bulk transport of juices, accounting for 37% of the PED for packaging, followed by cartons (24%), PET (21%) and glass bottles (18%). For some fresh fruits, PET punnets contribute 12%–15%

Table 16 Energy consumption and refrigerant leakage at regional distribution centres and retailers (DEFRA, 2008). Product

Electricity consumption (kJ/kg)


Fresh hard fruits Fresh soft fruitsb Juices, citrus and stone fruitsc Frozend a b c d

Refrigerant leakage (mg/kg)



Display cabinet



Display cabinet

0.95 – 0.56 8.2

– 35.3 9.4 45.8

– 2720 3320 2970

86 78 233 190

– 0.223 0.0514 0.144

– 110 130 62.3

Based on data for apples. Storage time: 48 h including RDC. Grapes and berries; based on data for strawberries. Storage time: 72 h including RDC. Based on data for chilled ready-made meals. Storage time: 60 h including RDC. Based on data for frozen peas and chips. Storage time: 278 h including RDC. 10

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Table 17 Specific volume of various fruits and juices. Specific volume (L/kg) Apple slices Grapes Lemons

1.95 2.30 2.33


Specific volume (L/kg)

MPD (2015) Khodaei and Akhijahani (2012) Baradaran Motie et al. (2014)

Peaches Berries Fruit juice

Reference 1.00 2.07 0.94

Pérez-López et al. (2014) Xie and Zhao (2004) Charrondiere et al. (2012)

Table 18 Waste generation in different life cycle stages based on (WRAP, 2011, 2013a)a. Fruits







Apples Pears Bananas Oranges Lemons Mandarins Grapefruits Grapes Pineapples Melons Plums Strawberries Raspberries Other berries Peaches & nectarines Mangoes Avocados Processed fruits Juices







3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 9.4%


1.5% 0.3% 0.3% 0.3% 0.3% 5.5%

2.0% 2.3% 2.3% 2.3% 2.3% 2.4%



2.5% 2.5% 2.5%

3.0% 2.5% 2.5%



18% 20% 42% 69% 26% 69% 26% 15% 59% 46% 28% 15% 15% 15% 28% 28% 28% 2.3%c 11%

a b c

2.5% 2.0% 2.0%



Proxy Apples Citrus Citrus Citrus Citrus Average Average Average Average

of of of of

(strawberries, raspberries) (fruits and vegetables)b (fruits and vegetables)b (fruits and vegetables)b

Average of (strawberries, raspberries) Average of (fruits and vegetables)b Avocados

The percentages are with respect to the starting amount of produce in each stage. Average of fruits and vegetables considering apples, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, citrus, avocados, lettuce, tomatoes and broccoli. Canned, frozen and dried.

Table 19 Share of different waste management practices in the UK (WRAP, 2016). Waste management option

Recycling (anaerobic digestion/composting) Energy recovery Disposal (landfill, sewer) Cans (landfill/recycling) Glass (landfill/recycling)

Food waste Processing






66% 1%

50% 0%

20% 60%

Table 20 Washing and process water for different fruits.

Packaging waste

Fruits and products


40% 60% 25%/75% 50%/50%

85%, respectively, followed by the processing stage (33% and 13%). Processing also accounts for 6%–8% for apples, pears, mandarins and grapes. The contribution of other life cycle stages is negligible. For some UK-grown fruits, such as apples, pears and plums, the processing stage is the main hotspot, accounting for more than 50% of the WF (see SI Fig. S9), while for others, farm production is still the main hotspot. The retail stage contributes significantly for raspberries (21%) and the storage for apples (16%) due to the water used in the life cycle of refrigeration electricity.

Process water (L/ kg)

References and notes

Fresh fruits Apples Avocados Bananas Grapefruits Grapes Lemons Mandarins Mangoes

2 0.88 4.65 0.042 2 0.042 0.042 0.88

Melons Nectarines Oranges Peaches Pears Pineapples

0.88 0.217 0.042 0.217 2 0.25

European Commission (2006) As mangoes Sikirica (2011) As oranges European Commission (2006) As oranges As oranges Ives (2010); Sivakumar et al. (2011) As mangoes As peaches Lo Giudice et al. (2013) Vinyes et al. (2017) European Commission (2006) Sikirica (2011); Ingwersen (2012) As peaches

Plums Berries Processed products Fruit juices (all types) Canned fruits Frozen fruits Dried fruits

3.1.3. Global warming potential (GWP) The GWP of fruits is summarised in Fig. 5, along with the relative contribution of different life cycle stages. As can be seen, the impact ranges from 0.9 kg CO2 eq./kg for melons to 4.4 kg CO2 eq./kg for mangoes. The GWP of soft fruits (grapes and berries) varies between 2.2 and 2.7 kg CO2 eq./kg. The stone fruits (avocados, plums, peaches, nectarines) have a similar impact (2–2.4 kg CO2 eq./kg). Comparison of different types of processed fruits shows that dried fruits have the highest GWP when oven-drying is used. For instance, dried pineapple has a much higher impact (4.9 kg CO2 eq./kg) than the

0.217 0 6.5 3.25 2.6 2.0

European European European European

Commission Commission Commission Commission

(2006) (2006) (2006) (2006)

juice (2.4–2.7 kg CO2 eq./kg; see Fig. S29). This is predominantly due to the drying process (45%). The next largest contribution is its cultivation (29%), since 6.5 kg of fresh fruit are required to produce 1 kg of dried pineapple, particularly given that 61% of the fresh fruit is peel and crown. The results also suggest that frozen fruits have a lower impact than their canned counterparts. This is exemplified by mangoes (Fig. S23) 11

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In terms of the contribution of different life cycle stages, the GWP follows a similar trend to the PED, with transportation and retail being the most significant contributors in general. For instance, transportation causes between 36% and 64% of the GWP of pears, bananas, melons, pineapples, avocados and mangoes. For mangoes and pineapples, air-freighting is the hotspot, while for the other fruits, the impact is due to the long distance shipping. Retail accounts for 25%–53% for all the citrus fruits (except mandarins), grapes, berries, peaches and nectarines. In the case of oranges and grapefruits, this is due to the cold storage of juices, particularly for orange juice, which make up 80% of the total consumption of oranges. Similarly, the processing stage has a considerable impact for oranges, apples, grapefruits and plums (14%–28%) owing to juice production as well as canned and dried plums. The contribution of packaging is notable (11%–13%) for canned mandarins, peaches and plums as well as for orange and grapefruit juices. Agricultural production is the hotspot (40%) for strawberries and avocados due to the heated greenhouses and irrigation, respectively. As for the PED, apples and pears cause a considerable impact in the storage stage (15%). The disposal stage is significant for pineapples, mandarins, bananas and melons (12%–19%), largely due to the peel.

Table 21 Indirect water demand (WRAP, 2013b, 2016; CBI, 2016). Water usage Heat, natural gas Electricity – RoWa Electricity - UK PP, PET LDPE Paper Aluminium Steel Glass a

Unit L/MJ L/MJ L/MJ L/kg L/kg L/kg L/kg L/kg L/kg

Blue 0.2 1.9 0.8 4.8 2.9 0.8 42 11.83 5.89

Water usage Road - refrigerated Sea - refrigerated Air - refrigerated Pesticide Sodium hydroxide Nitric acid Sulphur dioxide Refrigerant Wastewater treatment

Unit .

L/t km L/ L/ L/kg L/kg L/kg L/kg L/kg L/m3

Blue 0.234 0.017 1.378 15.59 11.38 0.247 2.33 11.61 4.59

RoW: Rest of the world - all regions except the UK.

and peaches (Fig. S26). This is due to the packaging and the ingredients added during canning (syrup and fruit juices), whose GHG emissions outweigh those from the frozen storage. Unlike PED, the GWP of dried grapes is lower than that of the fresh fruits (Fig. S19). The reason behind this is that the refrigerated transport and retail storage of fresh grapes have higher GHG emissions than those from the energy used for drying the grapes, since the majority is sun-dried. Domestically grown fresh fruits have a lower GWP than their frozen equivalents. However, the difference is negligible for berries grown in heated greenhouses and stored in open display cabinets, where the impact of fresh and frozen produce is the nearly the same (2.2 and 2.3 kg CO2 eq./kg). The reason for this is that the higher impact of fresh produce at the farm and retailer is counterbalanced by the impact of energy for freezing. Furthermore, for the imported produce, refrigerated air-freighted fresh fruits have a higher impact than the frozen, such as mangoes and raspberries, because of the higher GHG emissions from air-freighting than from freezing and shipping. In the case of home-grown berries, fresh and frozen fruits have an equal impact. Furthermore, imported fruits have a higher GWP than the homegrown due to the transport. An exception to this is strawberries, which have a similar impact due to greenhouse production of domestic strawberries counterbalancing transportation of the imported strawberries.

3.1.4. Land use Agricultural, natural and urban land use requirements for different fruits are discussed below, based on the findings summarised in Figs. 6–8. Agricultural land use (ALO). As shown in Fig. 6, the ALO is the highest for avocados, mangoes and plums (1.9 m2a/kg) and the lowest for melons (0.3 m2a/kg). As expected, farm production is the major contributor, accounting for more than 50% for all fruits, except for melons. For the latter, secondary cardboard packaging is the main hotspot (63%), followed by cultivation (34%). Cardboard packaging is also a significant contributor for berries (44%), bananas (38%), lemons (23%) and peaches (21%). In the case of pears, grapes and pineapples, the contribution of processing stage is notable (9%–22%), which is associated with the ingredients added to processed fruits, such as vegetable oil and sugar in dried fruits, or juices and syrups in canned fruits.

Fig. 3. Primary energy demand (PED) and contribution of different life cycle stages. 12

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Fig. 4. Water consumption and the water footprint and contribution of different the life cycle stages.

Fig. 5. Global warming potential (GWP) and contribution of different life cycle stages. Natural land transformation (NLT). As indicated in Fig. 7, grapes have the highest NLT (21.1 cm2/kg), followed by mangoes (17 cm2/kg), while melons cause the lowest impact (1.8 cm2/kg). For grapes, the processing stage contributes 80% due to the vegetable oil added to dried grapes. The processing stage is also a hotspot for fruits which are processed into juices or canned fruits, such as plums,

peaches, mandarins and pineapples, associated with energy consumption. Transportation is the major contributor (> 60%) for mangoes, melons, bananas and pineapples. The contribution of transport is related to the land transformation to produce fuel and the transport infrastructure. Farm production is the major contributor to NLT for strawberries 13

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Fig. 6. Agricultural land occupation (ALO) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

Fig. 7. Natural land transformation (NLT) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

(40%) due to the production of natural gas used for heating of greenhouses. It also accounts for about a third of the total impact from pears and avocados due to the energy consumption for irrigation. The packaging contributes 20% of NLT for melons and strawberries, while the retail stage causes 20%–30% of the impact for oranges, lemons and strawberries, associated with the energy used for refrigeration. The share of storage is 11% for pears and 21% for apples, also due to the use of energy.

3.1.5. Fossil depletion (FD) FD varies from 0.2 kg oil eq./kg for melons to 1.2 kg oil eq./kg for mangoes (Fig. 9). For the other fruits the impact ranges between 0.3 and 0.7 kg oil eq./kg. Generally, dried fruits have the highest FD. They are followed by the canned and frozen products and juices, which have a comparable impact, with frozen fruits having a lower impact than the canned. The lowest FD is found for fresh produce. An exception to this trend is plums and grapes. For the former, the dried product has a lower impact than the canned plums due to processing, packaging and transportation. In particular, processing leads to a high FD since two third of plums are dried before canning. For grapes, FD of fresh and dried fruits is comparable due to the differing contribution of different life cycle stages. In the case of bananas, chips have a lower impact than the dried product as they contain less fruit due to the addition of oil and sugar. Furthermore, frying reduces the moisture content of bananas, which reduces the drying time of chips and hence requires less energy. Transport is the highest contributor to FD, accounting for 68% of the FD for mangoes, mainly due to air-freighting. The contribution of Urban land occupation (ULO). Fig. 8 shows that mangoes have the highest ULO (361 cm2·a/kg) followed by avocados and berries; melons again have the lowest impact (90 cm2·a/kg). Farm production is the hotspot for all fruits, except melons and pineapples. For melons, the highest ULO is related to the use of cardboard packaging, whereas for pineapples, transport is the main contributor. Both packaging and transport are also significant contributors for various fruits, including bananas, mangoes, citrus fruits, grapes, peaches and nectarines. 14

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Fig. 8. Urban land occupation (ULO) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

Fig. 9. Fossil depletion (FD) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

transport is also high (> 50%) for bananas, pineapples and melons. Farm production is the hotspot for berries, accounting for 35%–53% due to the use of natural gas in greenhouses. The contribution of farm production is also high for avocados (49%) due to the use of electricity for pumping the irrigation water. The retail stage is the highest contributor for lemons (42%), followed by oranges, peaches, strawberries and grapes (18%–24%). Packaging causes a considerable impact (13%–34%) for canned fruits and fresh fruits packed in plastic punnets. Packaging also contributes notably (15%–30%) to the FD of orange and grapefruit juices due to their high share in the total amount of the respective fruits. Processing is the highest contributor for plums (38%) as 22% of the plums are dehydrated, with the majority being dried using natural gas. Similarly, due to the use of fossil energy in juice production, the processing stage is the hotspot for orange and grapefruit juices. Storage accounts for 19% of FD for apples and pears due to the energy used during the storage of several months.

3.1.6. Eco-toxicity The eco-toxicity impacts are shown in Figs. 10–12 and are discussed below. Freshwater eco-toxicity (FET). Strawberries have the highest FET (164 g 1,4-dichlorobenzene (DB) eq./kg) due to the electricity used in greenhouses while melons have the lowest impact (26 g 1,4-DB eq./ kg) as they are field-grown and consumed fresh. Although dried fruits have generally a higher impact than the other processed produce, there are some exceptions. For example, banana chips have a higher FET than dried bananas (Fig. S18) because of the vegetable oil used for frying. Furthermore, canned UK pears are more impactful than the dried (Fig. S27) due to the added juice and the steel packaging. Interestingly, this is rather different for the imported pears where the dried fruit has around three times higher impact than the canned (Fig. S28). This is related to the farm production of imported pears, which require irrigation, unlike the UK grown pears. Canned peaches have a higher 15

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Fig. 10. Freshwater eco-toxicity (FET) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

Fig. 11. Marine eco-toxicity (MET) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

FET than the frozen, again related to the juice and packaging, despite the energy used for frozen pears. Farm production is the main hotspot for most fruits, with the contributions ranging between 38% and 87%. The exceptions are oranges, melons and pineapples, where the waste disposal has the highest share (Fig. 10). In the case of berries, the electricity consumption in greenhouses is the main cause of the impact, while for the other fruits, it is due to the electricity used for irrigation. FET from the disposal stage is higher for fruits with high household waste, such as oranges, melons and pineapples, 46%–70% of which ends up as waste (Table 18). Processing is a notable contributor (11%–18%) for orange, grapefruit and pineapple juices, again due to the electricity consumption. Packaging causes 11%–14% of the FET of oranges, grapefruits, grapes and peaches while transport contributes 10%–14% for pears, bananas, melons and pineapples.

impact (> 70%) for berries, plums, mangoes and avocados. The disposal stage has a relatively high contribution (30%–40%) for oranges, grapefruits, pineapples and mangoes. Processing is significant for oranges, grapefruits and pineapples, accounting for 10%–20%. Terrestrial eco-toxicity (TET). The highest TET is estimated for grapefruits (21.2 g 1,4-DB eq./kg), followed by oranges (14.7 g 1,4-DB eq./kg) and pineapples (12.8 g 1,4-DB eq./kg), as seen in Fig. 12. Strawberries have the lowest impact, an order of magnitude lower than grapefruits (1.9 g 1,4-DB eq./kg). For grapefruits, oranges, and pineapples, the impact is largely caused by farm production (78%–90%). This is due to soil emissions from fertilisers and pesticides. Transport is the predominant contributor for all other fruits, except grapes, related to the fuel production and vehicle operation. For grapes, 60% of the impact occurs in the processing stage, owing to the use of vegetable oil for dried grapes. The processing stage also accounts for one-third of the total TET of pears, mandarins, peaches, plums and mangoes. Imported apples exhibit an interesting trend – UK dried apples and juice have a similar impact, but for the imported produce, NFC juice has Marine eco-toxicity (MET). A similar trend to FET is also found for MET (Fig. 11), with strawberries being the worst option (134 g 1,4DB eq./kg) and melons the best (23 g 1,4-DB eq./kg). The next highest MET is estimated for mangoes, raspberries, avocados, other berries and plums (102–129 g 1,4-DB eq./kg). Farming is the main source of this 16

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Fig. 12. Terrestrial eco-toxicity (TET) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

Fig. 13. Human toxicity impact (HT) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

25% higher impact than dried apples. The latter is due to the higher impact from transport related to the greater weight of the packaging for juice than for the dried product (bulk packaging as well as product packaging, such as carton and PET and glass bottles vs PE bags). On the other hand, juice from concentrate has two times lower TET than the dried product because only 0.17 kg of concentrate is required for 1 L of apple juice.

packaging is higher. Furthermore, frozen and fresh apples have a similar impact as the lower waste in the frozen chain counteracts the higher energy consumption for freezing. In the case of peaches and berries, in addition to the waste, punnets used to package fresh fruit contribute significantly to the HT, resulting in a comparable impact to the frozen product. However, frozen mangoes have around 30% greater HT than the fresh (Fig. S23) due to the retail and household stages, since fresh mangoes are not refrigerated at retailer. Farming is the main cause of HT for most fruits, accounting for 60%–80% for berries and stone fruits. This is due to the emissions associated with the production and use of fertilisers and pesticides and the use of energy for irrigation and greenhouses. The contribution of the remaining stages varies among the fruits. For example, processing and packaging contribute notably to the HT of oranges and peaches, respectively. The processing related impacts are mainly associated with

3.1.7. Human toxicity (HT) As can be seen in Fig. 13, melons have the lowest HT (0.42 kg 1,4DB eq./kg) and avocados the highest (1.81 kg 1,4-DB eq./kg), followed by mangoes (1.7 kg 1,4-DB eq./kg) and berries (1.2–1.4 kg 1,4-DB eq./ kg). Typically, dried fruits have the highest impact, followed by canned. An exception is imported canned plums which have a higher HT than the dried (Fig. S31) because the impact of processing and steel 17

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Fig. 14. Freshwater eutrophication (FE) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

Fig. 15. Marine eutrophication (ME) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

the production of other ingredients which are added to the products, such as juice concentrate and sugar in canned fruits, and citric acid in juices. Transport accounts for about 20% for melons and pears and the retail has a notable impact for lemons (20%) due to the refrigeration electricity. Disposal is a significant contributor for melons (38%), pineapples (22%) and mandarins (24%), largely related to the landfilling of household waste.

mangoes, with fertiliser application being the main source of FE. The retail stage is responsible for 45% of the total impact for lemons and accounts for a quarter of the FE for other citrus fruits, berries, peaches and nectarines. Packaging accounts for up to 25% of the total for all fruits, except for apples, lemons and avocados. Storage is significant for apples and pears, adding 25% to the overall impact, while processing adds a notable impact for oranges, grapefruits, plums, pineapples and melons. Transportation accounts for about 20% of FE for bananas, melons and pineapples. The impact of the remaining life cycle stages is negligible. Electricity consumption is mainly responsible for the FE in the retail, storage and processing stages. The FE from packaging is associated with the production of tinplate for cans and PET for punnets.

3.1.8. Eutrophication Freshwater eutrophication (FE). Melons are again the best fruit option for this impact with 0.1 g P eq./kg (Fig. 14). This is eight times lower than the highest FE found for peaches and nectarines (0.8 g P eq./ kg). Avocados, mangoes and plums follow peaches and nectarines closely (0.6–0.7 g P eq./kg). The predominant contributor for most of the fruits is farm production, accounting for 76% of the total for avocados and 60% for Marine eutrophication (ME). Avocados have the highest ME (9.1 g N eq./kg), followed by mangoes. In contrast to FE, ME is the lowest for peaches and nectarines (1.7 g N eq./kg). Farm production is 18

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Fig. 16. Ionising radiation (IR) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

Fig. 17. Metal depletion (MD) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

the main contributor, accounting for 45%–90% for all fruits except peaches and nectarines, mainly due to nitrogen fertilisers. For peaches and nectarines, disposal stage is the main hotspot with a contribution of 40%, caused by landfilling and wastewater treatment. The contribution of disposal is also significant for other fruits (> 20%), except for mangoes and avocados (Fig. 15). The processing stage contributes notably for grapes, peaches and nectarines (20%) due to the added juice and vegetable oil in canned and dried fruits, respectively. The impact of the remaining stages is negligible.

wastewater treatment. For the berries, farm production and retail contribute 15% each, again caused by the electricity used for greenhouses and refrigerators, respectively. Owing to a high electricity contribution to the IR of packaging, canned fruits have higher impacts than the dried. An interesting finding is that fresh oranges have a higher impact than orange juice from concentrate due to the small quantity of concentrate used per litre of juice and the lower amount of waste produced compared to fresh oranges.

3.1.9. Ionising radiation (IR) As shown in Fig. 16, IR ranges from 1.3 to 5.2 kg U235 eq./kg, with the highest impact estimated for mangoes and mandarins, and the lowest for the berries and grapes. Packaging and disposal are the main contributors for most fruits. This is due to the nuclear power in the electricity mix used for production of packaging materials and for

3.1.10. Metal depletion (MD) As seen in Fig. 17, there is a factor of ten difference between the lowest (melons) and highest MD (mangoes). Farm production is responsible for more than 70% of the total impact of apples, berries and avocados. This is due to several reasons, including the use of farm machinery, greenhouses, irrigation and application of fertilisers. 19

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Fig. 18. Ozone depletion (OD) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

Fig. 19. Particulate matter formation (PMF) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

Packaging is the hotspot for canned fruits and juices due to the use of steel in cans and bulk transport of juices in steel drums. This is the reason why canned fruits have the highest impact, followed by NFC juices. In the case of UK apples, the dried product requires a higher amount of fresh produce than the juice and thus has a higher impact. Transportation has a notable impact for melons, bananas, grapes and lemons, accounting for 15%–30%, caused by vehicle manufacturing and operation.

greater OD than the fresh because of transportation of the imported products. In the case of domestic production, it is due to the processing stage where the added juice is the greatest contributor. Fresh oranges and pineapples are worse for this impact than orange and pineapple juice FC because the concentrate quantity required for the ready juice is low and the impact of transportation is therefore lower. Farm production causes 60% of the impact from berries, largely due to the production of trichloromethane used as a pesticide. For other fruits, transport and the retail are the main contributors due to refrigerant leakage. Transport accounts for more than 90% of the OD for mangoes, pineapples, bananas, pears and avocados as these are transported refrigerated over long distances. Storage at retailer is a major cause of OD for oranges, lemons and peaches (55%–75%) and a significant contributor for grapes, grapefruits and berries (35%).

3.1.11. Ozone depletion (OD) Berries are the worst option for OD with 3.3–3.6 μg CFC-11 eq./kg (Fig. 18). Pears, the best option, have around four times lower impact (0.9 μg CFC-11 eq./kg). Fresh chilled and frozen products have generally the highest and dried the lowest impact. An exception is pears where canned produce has the highest impact (Figs. S27 and 28) as it is heavier to transport with steel packaging and fresh pears are not refrigerated so they have a lower impact. Between the chilled and frozen produce, the latter has generally a higher impact. Canned fruits have a

3.1.12. Particulate matter formation (PMF) Similar to several other categories, mangoes have the highest (9.4 g PM10 eq./kg) and melons the lowest PMF (1.6 g PM10 eq./kg). Farm 20

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Fig. 20. Photochemical oxidants formation (POF) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

Fig. 21. Terrestrial acidification (TA) and contribution of different life cycle stages.

production is the greatest contributor for most fruits, followed by transportation (Fig. 19). Use of electricity for irrigation, production of fertilisers and the emissions during cultivation are predominantly responsible for the impact at the farm level. Energy used in greenhouses also contributes most to the impact from berries. Transport is the main hotspot for pineapples, melons, bananas and mangoes, accounting for 45%–70% of the total. The processing stage contributes about 15% for oranges, grapefruits and plums. The contribution of packaging is notable for oranges, mandarins, peaches and nectarines (14%–19%). The retail stage causes more than 15% of PMF for lemons and berries due to the use of electricity.

of POF for bananas, melons, pineapples and mangoes. For strawberries and plums, farm production contributes the most (∼40%) mainly due to the plastic tunnels and the trellis system, respectively, and partly due to fertiliser emissions. Packaging has a notable impact for canned fruits and juices or fresh fruits packaged in PET punnets, as in the case of berries. Retail accounts for 10%–20% for lemons, oranges, berries and peaches. Processing causes 16% of POF for plums. The main sources of the impact in different life cycle stages are the same as in the case of PMF. 3.1.14. Terrestrial acidification (TA) As for most other categories, mangoes are the least sustainable option for TA with 23.9 g SO2 eq./kg, followed by plums and avocados, while melons are the best option at 4.5 g SO2 eq./kg (Fig. 21). The impact of different types of product follows the trends found for most other categories, with fresh and frozen fruits having the lowest TA, followed by juices, canned and finally dried produce. An exception to

3.1.13. Photochemical oxidants formation (POF) As shown in Fig. 20, grapefruits and melons have the lowest and mangoes the highest impact (4.3 and 22.4 g NMVOC eq./kg, respectively). Transport is the main hotspot for all fruits, except for strawberries and plums. In particular, transport accounts for more than 65% 21

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Fig. 22. Summary of the impacts and ranking of the fruits at the product level.

this is canned plums from the UK, which have a higher impact than the dried fruits as much of the product is dried before canning. Farm production and transport are the main contributors for all fruits. Specifically, for mandarins, pears, strawberries, plums and avocados, farming activities account for more than 50%, while for bananas, grapes, melons, pineapples and mangoes, transport contributes the most with 41%–62%. In the case of apples, lemons and peaches, farm production and transportation contribute equally. The contribution of storage is notable for grapes (19%), which is largely due to the sulphur dioxide used as a preservative and for apples (14%) due to the use of electricity. Retail contributes 15%–20% for berries, peaches, oranges and lemons due to refrigeration.

summing up the total scores, assuming equal weighting for all impacts. The fruit with the lowest total score is ranked 1st and the one with the highest total is ranked 17th, with all others ranked in between accordingly. Fruits with an impact difference among each other of less than 5% are given an equal score. As can be seen in Fig. 22, melons, lemons and grapefruits perform best, while avocados, plums and mangoes have the highest impacts overall per kg of product. Melons have the lowest impacts in all categories, except for ME and IR, which is the reason for being ranked 1st. In the case of lemons, OD is a hotspot due to the refrigeration in the retail stage. For grapefruits, WF and TET have high scores owing to farm production and, in particular due to high quantities of fruit needed for the juice. Avocados and mangoes are the worst options with regards to the WF and PED, respectively. Plums are second worst with high scores across all impacts (apart from OD) owing to the high proportion of processed fruits (30%). In particular, canned and dried plums have high impacts in the farm and processing stages since the majority of canned plums are dried before canning, while the packaging is a hotspot for canned fruits. Overall, bananas, apples and oranges have also low impacts, where ME and ALO are the hotspots along with TET, ME, IR, mainly caused by

3.1.15. Summary of results The estimated impacts discussed above for the various fruits are summarised in Fig. 22 in the form of a heat map, which ranks the fruits on a scale from 1 to 17, with the lowest score representing the lowest overall impacts. Note that although there are 21 types of fruits, peaches and nectarines are considered together and other berries comprise four types of berries, and hence the highest score is 17. The overall score for each fruit type is obtained by ranking them on each impact and then 22

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Fig. 23. Global warming potential (GWP) of different fruits reported in the literature (Tabatabaie and Murthy, 2016; Sanjuán et al., 2005; Milà i Canals et al., 2006; Mouron et al., 2006a, 2006b; Saunders et al., 2006; Williams et al., 2008a, 2008b; Yoshikawa et al., 2008; Lillywhite, 2008; Audsley et al., 2009; McLaren et al., 2010; Blonk et al., 2010; Stoessel et al., 2012; Venkat, 2012; Cellura et al., 2012; Lescot, 2012; Pergola et al., 2013; Svanes and Aronsson, 2013; Brito de Figueirêdo et al., 2013; Cerutti et al., 2013; Girgenti et al., 2013; Basset-Mens et al., 2016; Renz et al., 2014; Nikkhah et al., 2017) compared to the results in this study (The literature data correspond to individual products while the impacts in this study refer to a UK market mix of different products where not otherwise specified. NFC: not from concentrate; FC: from concentrate).

the farm production. On the other hand, grapes and berries have high environmental impacts overall, where strawberries are the best options due to lower air-freighted quantities and higher share of fruits being grown in the field than in greenhouses. In the case of grapes, air-freight and retail are responsible for the high impacts of fresh grapes, along with the processing of dried grapes.

3.2. Annual impacts at the UK level This section presents the environmental impacts of the annual consumption of fruits in the UK (see Table 1), based on the impacts at the product level discussed in the previous section. As shown in Fig. 24, consuming nearly 5 Mt of fruits per year consumes 94.1 PJ of primary energy, which is equivalent to 9% of the PED of the food and drink sector in the UK (based on (DECC, 2016)). It also emits 7.9 Mt of CO2 eq./yr, which corresponds to 4% of GWP of the food and drink sector. Furthermore, the fruit sector requires 0.35 Mha of agricultural land annually, or 7% of the total land associated with UK food production. There are no estimates for the other impacts at the sectoral level and hence it is not possible to put them in a similar context. As indicated in Fig. 24, oranges have the highest contribution to ten impact categories (GWP, FD, FET, FE, IR, MET, MD, TET, PED and WF), and bananas to seven (HT, ME, OD, PMF, POF, TA, ULO). Apples require significant agricultural and grapes natural land. Overall, three types of fruit – oranges, bananas and apples – are responsible for more than half of the impacts across all the categories, except for the WF and NLT. This is broadly in proportion to their consumption quantities, which amount to 64% of the total fruits sold in the UK. On the other hand, mangoes, which only account for 1% of the consumption, cause 3% of the GWP and PED and 12% of the WF. This is also the case for

3.1.16. Comparison of results with literature The comparison of the results with literature focuses on GWP, as the most commonly reported impact in LCA studies of fruits. As seen in Fig. 23, the GWP estimated in this study for bananas, melons and strawberries are within the ranges reported in the literature. For the other fruits, the values are higher than in other studies. This is because in this work the complete supply chains have been considered, which is not necessarily the case for other studies. Furthermore, this study also accounts for imported and processed products, which have higher impacts due to additional transport and energy use. Different farming practices and assumptions also affect the results. In summary, the findings of this study seem reasonable, given the differences in the system boundary, geographical and transport variations, as well as the type of processed products.


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Fig. 24. Annual environmental impacts of the fruits consumed in the UK and contribution of different fruits to the total.

some other fruits, such as grapes, lemons, pineapples, strawberries and plums for GWP and some other impacts. For the WF, the contribution of various fruits to the sectoral impact is not in proportion to their consumption. For instance, mandarins, mangoes and avocados in total amount to 8% of the consumption; however, they contribute 27% to the total WF. Melons perform best in all impact categories, contributing 1%–4%, despite accounting for 5% of the fruits consumed. Other fruits have similarly low impacts; however, this is in proportion to their consumption. For instance, grapefruits and raspberries amount respectively to 1% and 0.5% of the overall consumption and account for about 1% of the impact in most categories.

Oranges, bananas and apples are responsible for more than half of the sectoral impacts as they account for 64% of the total fruits consumed in the UK. Although the consumption of mandarins, avocados and mangoes is very small compared to the other fruits, they are significant contributors to the total WF. Melons have the lowest contribution to the annual impacts (1%–4%). The results at the product level also indicate that melons have the lowest impacts for 14 categories (PED, GWP, ALO, FET, FD, FE, HT, MET, MD, NLT, PMF, POF, TA, ULO), while mangoes are the worst option in nine (PED, GWP, FD, IR, MD, PMF, POF, TA, ULO). Avocados have the highest ALO, WF, ME and HT and strawberries cause the greatest FET and MET. Bananas are the best alternative for the WF, while pears and strawberries have the lowest OD and TET, respectively. The contribution of different life cycle stages varies among the fruits and impact categories. Generally, farm production causes high impacts for fruits grown in greenhouses and those that require intensive irrigation. Furthermore, farm production is the highest contributor to ALO, ME, MET and TA. Dried and frozen products as well as juices have high impacts due to high energy requirements for drying, evaporation and freezing. Storage shows a considerable contribution for the fruits stored over a long period, such as apples and pears. Packaging has a high PED, GWP and MD for canned fruits and juices in glass bottles. Some fruits

4. Conclusions and recommendations In this study, the environmental impacts of fruits consumed in the UK have been analysed on a life cycle basis at both the product and sector levels. The study has considered fresh and processed fruits produced both domestically and overseas. Overall, 19 impacts have been estimated for 21 types of fruit and their 46 products. The analysis shows that the annual consumption of fruits releases 7.9 Mt CO2 eq. and requires 94 PJ of primary energy, along with 315 Mm3 eq. of water. 24

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have notable impacts in the retail stage, mostly due to the use of open display cabinets in the UK; these include lemons, grapes, berry fruits, peaches and juices. Since the majority of fruits are imported, transport is a significant contributor to GWP, PED, TA, TET, POF and PMF. The greatest impact is caused by air-freighting, resulting in the worst environmental profile for mangoes. The contribution of waste disposal is considerable for FET, HT, MET, ME and IR. The environmental performance of the fruit sector can be improved by tackling these hotspots. For example, eating berries in season would reduce impacts due to the avoidance of heated greenhouses or airfreighting. This is practised in many countries in Europe where choice of non-seasonal fruits is limited. With respect to greenhouse cultivation, using biofuels or decarbonised energy for heating would also result in lower impacts. Alternatively, importing form warmer European countries, where berries are grown in the field would reduce the impacts despite transportation. Furthermore, dried fruits are a promising way to extend the shelf life of fruits, in particular of exotic and highly perishable fruits assuming solar drying. This avoids energy-intensive oven-drying, reduces waste, does not require cold storage and reduces the weight, leading to lower transportation impacts. However, the taste of fruit is altered and hence affects consumer choices. Regarding canned fruits, using water as the filling medium instead of juices or sugar would improve the performance. In the case of juices, not-from-concentrate juices have four times lower impacts than juices from concentrates in the processing stage. However, long-distance transport of juice concentrate is better environmentally than of the not-from-concentrate equivalent. Also, juice should always be packaged in cartons rather than plastic or glass bottles as it has the lowest impacts. Fruit waste, in particular due to fruit processing, should be utilised for energy and material recovery wherever possible. The fruits which contribute most to the water footprint are all grown in highly water-stressed countries. Thus, importing from regions with lower water stress would avoid over-exploiting scarce water resources. For instance, sourcing avocados and mangoes from Colombia, The Dominique Republic, Indonesia, Brazil or Kenya would reduce the water footprint significantly, since these countries have a very low water stress (WSI < 0.2). Mandarins from Italy along with plums and peaches from other water-rich European countries should replace imports from water-stressed countries, such as Spain and South Africa. Consuming locally available fruits or avoiding air-freighting would reduce the transportation related impacts. However, this would not be popular with the consumer as the choice of fruits would be severely reduced due to the UK climatic conditions and perishability of some of the fruits. Placing more ripening facilities in the UK would reduce impacts from refrigerated transportation from such facilities across Europe by nearly 30% for most categories. Further improvement opportunities include energy decarbonisation, energy recovery from waste and waste reduction in all life cycle stages as well as closed display cabinets at retailers. The results of this study will be of interest to various supply chain players, including farmers, producers, traders, retailers and consumers, helping them to make informed decisions related to the environmental impacts of fruits.

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Acknowledgements This work was funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Gr. no. EP/K011820/1. The authors gratefully acknowledge this funding. Appendix A. Supplementary data Supplementary data to this article can be found online at https:// 25

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