The present site provides environmental data on processes in food products' product chains and on food products at different stages of their product chains. Data on food production processes can be viewed in process mode and data on food products can be viewed in product mode.

For a more general introduction to LCA look here.

Process data

Input/output data on processes in the food sector are derived from a variety of sources. Data on production in agriculture and fishery have been determined by a "top-down" approach where statistical data on a national level have been broken down to represent specific processes. Data on other processes than agriculture and fishery have been determined by a "bottom-up" approach where data from a limited number of sources have been used to represent the national level.

Details about data collection related to agriculture and fishery can be found in the relevant datasheets under Processes, Agriculture and Aquaculture and in Dalgaard and Halberg (2004) respectively Thrane (2004).  Data on other processes are collected from a broad spectrum of sources (interviews, factory records, branch analysis, green accounts etc.) and details can be found in each process data sheet.

Data include main inputs (resources, raw materials, water and energy) and main outputs (products and waste as well as emissions to air and water).

The resource "land" is included for production processes in agriculture, but not for other processes. Land use is provided in "m2 year" (square meter land used in one year) without differentiation between different types of land.

Data do in most cases not include

  • Capital goods such as buildings and machinery (except for traction) because it is considered unimportant (except for fishing).
  • Packaging, although packaging is highly integrated with food products (see links to data sources here).
  • Cleaning agents and most other chemicals (although it could be relevant in terms of toxicity).
  • Veterinary medicine etc. (see e.g. Sørensen et al., 2002).
  • Pesticides, heavy metals etc.

Product data

Product data have been determined by modeling of process data. Product models are market based (see Weidema, 2003) and models include processes, which are influenced by a marginal change in demand for a considered food product, see example. Marginal producers of agricultural products have been determined by modeling in the econometric model Esmeralda, see Jensen and Andersen (2003).

Environmental inputs and outputs associated with food products have been estimated by summarizing inputs and outputs (Qi) from all production processes (p) in the food products' product chains (see Wenzel et al., 1997).

Qi = ∑ Qi,p

Total inventories of inputs and outputs associated with food products can be comprehensive and emissions to air and water have been have been recalculated to environmental impact potentials to limit the reporting in the present context. The complete inventories can be found in the LCA model.

Environmental impacts potentials (EP(j)i) associated with specific substances (i) emitted in the food products' product chains have been determined by multiplying total emissions of substances (Qi) with specific equivalency factors (EF(j)i) for specific categories of impacts (j).

EP(j)i = Qi x EF(j)i

Environmental impact potentials EP(j) associated with food products have been determined by summarizing contributions to environmental impacts from all emitted substances in the product's product chain.

EP(j) = ∑ EP(j)i = (Qi x EF(j)i).

The considered environmental impacts categories (j) include:

Global warming
Nutrient enrichment and
Photochemical ozone formation (smog)

Equivalency factors have been derived from Wenzel et al. (1997).

EDIP 96 have been used as Life Cycle Impact Assessment method. Land use have been added to the method. Se more about EDIP 96 at Pré and in the SimaPro 6 Database manual.

System expansion

Many processes in the food sector produce more than one product and environmental emissions associated with specific products have been determined by system expansion, see Weidema (2001). Contributions from different processes as a result of system expansion have been determined analytically by matrix calculations, see Heijungs and Suh (2002).

Energy supply

Marginal data have been applied for electricity drawn from the public grid. Sector specific scenarios based on the Danish NAMEA (1999) have been used for heat. See energy.


Modelling of products is based on a number of assumptions related to the market situation as reported in product datasheets. Some of the most important assumptions are related to public regulation of milk, fish and sugar markets (quotas) and data are provided with as well as without quotas for these three product groups. Sensitivity of other assumptions can be tested in the LCA-model and users of data are encouraged to analyze sensitivity of the most important assumptions related to their particular studies.


Modeling has been facilitated in SimaPro 6.0. The LCA model can be found by clicking here.


Jensen JD and Andersen M (2003). Marginale producenter af udvalgte landbrugsprodukter. FØI Working paper no. 08/2003 (in Danish).

Dalgaard R and Halberg N (2004). An LC inventory based on representative and coherent farm types. Danish institute of agricultural science

Danish NAMEA (1999). National accounting matrices including environmental accounts. Statistics Denmark.

Heijungs R and Suh S (2002). The computational structure of lifecycle assessment. ISBN 1-4020-0672-1. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Sørensen BH, Nielsen SN and Jensen J (2002). Environmental assessment of veterinary medicinal products in Denmark. Environmental Project No. 659. Danish Environmental Protection Agency.

Thrane M. (2004). Environmental impacts from Danish fish products. Ph.D. dissertation, Aalborg University (Denmark). Department of Development and Planning. In preparation.

Weidema B (2001). Avoiding co-product allocation in life-cycle assessment. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 4(3), 11-33.

Weidema B (2003). Market information in life cycle assessments. Technical report, Danish Environmental Protection Agency (Environmental Project no. 863).

Wenzel H, Hauschild M and Alting L (1997). Environmental assessment of products. Volume 1. Methodology, tools and case studies in product development. Chapman and Hall.