Cost of Chicken Labs

Cost of Chicken Labs is our place for ideas on products that come from collecting information on true food costs around the world. We’ve started work on designing a mobile phone app that would track the consumer’s ecological footprint based on their food purchasing choices.

The Carbon Footprint of our Diets

Does it make a difference what we buy and what we eat? YES! Time Magazine did an amazing collection of photographs of families from around the world gathered around their dinner tables (or blankets) with a collection of all the things they eat. People’s choices make a difference. Here in US, on an average, we generate 22 tons of Carbon Dioxide per person per year! Of that, 8.1 metric tons of greenhouse gases are generated by food consumption choices.

Check out this interesting presentation with lots more data.

The carbon footprint factors this presentation lists is almost a perfect match for our Cost of Chicken map categories:

  • how far did the food travel to reach you? (transportation accounts for 11% of the total green house gas emissions from food)
  • how was your food produced? (food production and harvesting accounts for 83% of the total green house gas emissions from food if done in a conventional, big agriculture business way)
  • what kind of food did you get? (delivery from the producer to the store accounts for 4% of the total green house gas emissions from food)

So here’s a break down:

  1. Red Meat is the number one source of greenhouse gases from food and is responsible of 30% of the total.
  2. Milk and other dairy products come in at number two at 18% of the total.
  3. Cereals and Carbs at 11% of the total; as are fruits and vegetable — 11%.
  4. Chicken, fish, and eggs are responsible for 10% of the total.
  5. Beverages are 6%; and so are sweets and condiments — 6%.
  6. All the other food stuffs make up the rest — 9%.

By looking at the data coming in from the Cost of Chicken crowd map, we can see how much green gas we are generating.

We believe if people knew that their food choices make a difference to the environment, they would choose more wisely.

Check out this data (and see the whole presentation):

Food Carbon Footprint Analysis

And check out this video — “Cheeseburger Footprint: from Six Degrees” by Jamais Cascio

150 Data Points on Cost of Chicken Crowdmap!

Lowell High School Seal Last week, students taking Economics in Lowell High School were assigned to collect some data points for our Cost of Chicken Crowdmap. In just a few days, we have 150 data points! While most are from San Francisco, we do have some food data from Russia and India (and hoping to get more from other countries soon).

The most obvious conclusion from all this data so far is that no one seems to know where their food comes from! It might be that all the data was collected from big cities. But we suspect that food consumers in general have little idea of who grows/produces their food. And the companies that do do the food manufacturing try to high this information. They use cute names on their packaging: “Foster Farms Chicken”. But where is this farm? There are probably many farms that grow chicken to be sold under this name.

And so we are planing on developing a way to track where food comes from — stay tuned for the Cost of Chicken Labs — where we talk about our ideas.