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Siemens Stiftung

Food production - "energy hog?

Interactive graphic:
Production stages for a food until it is eaten, with the energy consumption and energy-saving potential for each stage.

An industrially produced foodstuff generally has to travel a long way before it lands on our plate. This is illustrated graphically using an example of a food (chicken wings). At each step, the graphic shows what energy is needed for and what measures could be taken to save energy. Synthetic amino acids are named as one energy-saving possibility. All essential amino acids (for example, methionine) can be produced synthetically today and would save up to 95 percent of the energy if used in feed, compared, for example, with growing soy beans. In addition, the use of freshwater and pollution with fertilizers and pesticides would be reduced. Further potential for saving energy can be discussed.

Information and ideas:
Because this media file shows energy consumption in the context of food production and consumption, monitoring one?s own consumption would be appropriate. Students should think of meals for one day that use as little energy as possible for production, transportation, consumption, and waste disposal. The thoughts can range from mostly unprocessed products to completely synthetic products.
The "Meat and sustainability? animated film is suitable to get the students thinking.

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