What's a Climavore?

The Lempert Report
April 19, 2023

Climavore seems to be the latest buzzword. 

Sally: Phil, these are our shoppers that are thinking about when they buy a food product, they're thinking about what sort of environmental impact that product has, and that is how they are choosing to buy certain products. Now, one thing that has come up talking about Climate wars is the comparison of chicken and beef. As people become more interested in eating, like climavores, if they are meat eaters, will they be more inspired to eat chicken as opposed to beef? Because what we have learned is that chicken has a lower environmental impact than beef.

Phil: And a substantial one. So if we look at greenhouse gases, just greenhouse gases by themselves, beef is 51, that's greenhouse gas emissions, excluding methane. If it's including methane, it goes over a hundred. Chicken is 10 and has no emissions from methane. So clearly if you are concerned about the environment, and you like both chicken and beef, you might want to think a little bit about adding more chicken. And also when you look at short term versus long term greenhouse gases, same thing with beef going up to a rating of 50, chicken being six. And I think what's important to note is that there's a lot of talk about methane. We did a story a few months ago about how in New Zealand they wanted to tax farmers for cows burps. I'm not sure where that stands now or how you could calculate that, but clearly what everybody is missing, in my opinion, is that methane is short term in the atmosphere, but CO2 is long term. Methane can be eradicated in a matter of of days. CO2 is a matter of centuries, Right?

Sally: And this is an important distinction that I feel a lot of shoppers do not know about this. In fact, I'm learning this, I'm newly learning this about methane. That doesn't mean it's not something for us to be concerned about. It is an issue. But it is something to think about when we hear about the impact of beef and dairy. It may not be as much as we have thought it was because the methane is evaporating more quickly, as you said. However, one thing to keep in mind is that even when we take those methane emission numbers away from dairy and beef, they, still have the highest environmental impact of all of our other issues. 

Phil: Yeah, absolutely.