Products

Product CO2e / kg Studies

Tomatoes

1.295
CO2e / kg
= 100 g of Tomatoes
You can consume
2.08
kg of Tomatoes to exhaust your daily CO2e food budget

Categories: Vegetables | Food

The tomato is a fruit that is produced in many different places of the world. In the more northern cold countries often in green houses with added energy and in the warm southern countries they are produced freestanding outside. We also consume a lot of tomatoes from cans often produced in Europe1.

Many origins, methods and transportation modes can be considered, four examples compared in Theurl 20142 are:

  1. Fresh tomatoes produced in multi-tunnels in Spain consumed in central Europe
  2. Fresh tomatoes produced in greenhouses in Central Europe, consumed in Central Europe
  3. Canned tomatoes produced in open field in Italy, consumed in Central Europe
  4. Organic fresh tomatoes in tunnels in Central Europe, consumed in Central Europe

The total result of 1kg packed tomatoes is listed below and includes greenhouse infrastructure, fertilizing and pesticides, soil, plant management, transport, storage and processing and packaging.

  1. 0.68 kg CO2e
  2. 1.37 kg CO2e
  3. 0.87 kg CO2e
  4. 0.18 kg CO2e

When looking at the three first scenarios, there are many elements to consider and reasons why one sees a different result. The greenhouse data is taken from year-around and therefore the heating accounts for almost two thirds of the emission. Moreover, another reason for the high heating emissions is due to the source of heat, which is natural gas. Furthermore, the production in Spain is very efficient, however the long transport accounts for more than half the emissions. And lastly, the most efficient purely tomato to produce is from Italy, but the packaging and processing of canned tomatoes also accounts for two thirds of the emissions.

The local organic production seems to be in a different league and the obvious choice according to this article. During the farming only a small amount of fertilizer and soil is added and the machine-use is not intensive. However, 86% of the emissions are related to Transport and packaging.


  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20060515104325/http://www.fas.usda.gov/htp/Hort_Circular/2004/06-21-04%20tomato%20products%20situation.pdf 

  2. Theurl, M.C., Haberl, H., Erb, KH. et al. Contrasted greenhouse gas emissions from local versus long-range tomato production. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 34, 593–602 (2014). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13593-013-0171-8 

Subcategories: Tomatoes (cooked) | Sundried tomatoes | Tomatoes (jar) | Tomatoes (carton) | Tomatoes (canned) | Tomatoes (dried) | Tomatoes (eco) | Cherry tomatoes | Tomatoes (greenhouse, heated) | Tomatoes (greenhouse, passive)

Studies

Source Notes CO2e Country origin Country consumption Weight
RIVM Database Milieubelasting Voedingsmiddelen Tomaat, rauw
1.792
Unknown Netherlands 7
Ökologische Fußabdrücke von Lebensmitteln und Gerichten in Deutschland (IFEU) Tomaten, aus Deutschland, saisonal
0.3
Germany Germany 0
Ökologische Fußabdrücke von Lebensmitteln und Gerichten in Deutschland (IFEU) Tomaten, aus Südeuropa, Freiland
0.4
Unknown Germany 0
Ökologische Fußabdrücke von Lebensmitteln und Gerichten in Deutschland (IFEU) Tomaten, frisch, Durchschnitt
0.8
Unknown Germany 7
Environmental impact of plant-based foods Fresh tomatoes on the Swedish market are likely to originate from within Europe. Climate impact varies greatly, the main reason being the heating source for the greenhouses. The most recent study on Swedish tomatoes shows a climate impact of around 0.9 kg CO2e per kg. Data for European production varies greatly. Clearly many of the data-points are below 1 kg CO2e per kg. Some show impacts of around 6 kg CO2e per kg, but often older studies, and the energy mix for heating has changed greatly in Sweden over time. In summary, earlier studies show that tomatoes produced in Europe are likely to have a climate impact below 2.3 kg CO2e per kg or in many cases much lower. However, the climate impact can be higher, depending on heating source for heating the greenhouses. Sweden mostly imports tomatoes from Spain and the Netherlands. Spanish tomatoes are likely to have climate impact below 1 kg CO2e per kg, Dutch tomatoes are likely to have climate impact below 2.3 kg CO2e per kg in a store in Sweden.. Studies: 17 (2 SW)
2.3
Unknown Unknown 10
Den store klimadatabase Tomato, ripe , origin unknown, Agriculture: 0.07, iLUC: 0.01, Food processing: 0, Packaging: 0.14, Transport: 0.48
0.7
Unknown Unknown 7
FiBL CO2-Fußabdruck von Bioprodukten Konventionell; Production: 0.057; Transport: 0.065; Packaging: 0.071; https://www.fibl.org/fileadmin/documents/de/oesterreich/arbeitsschwerpunkte/Klima/ergebnisse_gemuese_gesamt_090625.pdf
0.194
Austria Austria 5
Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers Figure 1
2.1
Unknown Unknown 10
Greenhouse gas emissions of realistic dietary choices in Denmark: the carbon footprint and nutritional value of dairy products Table 1; including waste; excluding waste: 2.6
3.21
Unknown Unknown 10
Contrasted greenhouse gas emissions from local versus long-range tomato production The cultivation of organic tomatoes in plastic tunnels is associated with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions at the point of sale from all four systems, with absolute numbers of 180 g CO2e.
0.18
Austria Austria 10
Systematic review of greenhouse gas emissions for different fresh food categories Table 5 Median; #LCA studies: 19; #GWP values: 56; Mean: 0.46; Stdev: 0.18; Min: 0.08; Max: 1
0.45
Unknown Unknown 10
Contrasted greenhouse gas emissions from local versus long-range tomato production Both imported tomatoes from Spain and canned tomatoes from Italy, at 759 and 868 g CO2e, respectively, produce nearly 1.5 to nearly 2 times lower greenhouse gas emissions than tomatoes from heated Austrian systems (Fig. 3).
Figure 3: 0.4 kg CO2e comes from transport
0.759
Spain Austria 10
Klimatarier CO2 Rechner Tomate
0.77
Unknown Unknown 5