Mapping energy consumption in food manufacturing

Alia Ladha-Sabur, Serafim Bakalis, Peter J. Fryer, Estefania Lopez-Quiroga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
1781 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The food industry is heavily dependent on fossil fuels and significantly contributes to GHG emissions. The global population is also growing and food demand is expected to increase a 60% by 2050. To combat environmental pollution and create a more sustainable food sector, energy use during manufacturing needs to be reduced.

Scope and approach: To gain a better understanding of the energy employed in manufacturing and distribution of foods - within the UK and globally - energy usage within the food industry has been collected from literature and clustered by product, processing technique and transportation method.

Key findings and conclusions: Energy figures show that instant coffee, milk powder, French fries, crisps and bread are among the most energy intensive food products. The thermal processes involved in their manufacturing consumed large proportions of the total processing energy. In the meat and dairy processing sectors, energy and water use have increased due to a rise in hygienic standards and cleaning requirements. Additionally, meat products are processed - and sometime over processed - to a higher degree for consumer convenience, all this increasing the associated energy usage for manufacture. Regarding food transportation, more than 98% of all foods within the UK are transported by road, and the distances travelled have increased in recent years. Tertiary distribution using rigid vehicles was the most energy intensive transportation method, while primary distribution at ambient temperature was the least. Refrigerated transportation, which is more intensive than stationary refrigerated systems, has also increased during the past years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-280
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Early online date8 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Energy demand
  • Food manufacturing
  • Sustainability
  • UK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


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