How sustainable can spreads be?

February 17, 2022
min reading time

Spread is not only delicious, but also sustainable?

Our colleagues at worldwatchers have calculated the environmental footprint of various spreads and made sure that it is also cost-effective.

I'm sure many people feel the same way as I do: I like a little butter with my bread, a slice of cheese or sausage, and in my case I even like it together. But you hear from everywhere that in order to do something good for the environment, animal products, especially meat, should be avoided. What to do? After all, the desire for something hearty remains. But does this also mean something animal? Often, substitute products are quite expensive. So why not make your own? Thus, the spread can be tailored to your own taste, you have control over the ingredients, the cost is manageable and it should also be better for the climate. Whether the latter is true, we want to check here:

  • 10g butter: 25g CO2
  • 30g Emmental: 255g CO2
  • 30g ham: 363g CO2

So together I am with the topping at 643g CO2. Quite a lot! For later comparison, that's 918g of CO2 per 100g of topping. How does it look for a vegetarian product? I chose a tomato and feta cheese spread. So I only do without the meat, but not the cheese. Here the calculation becomes a bit more difficult:

  • 200g sheep cheese: 1164g CO2
  • 5 Dried tomato: 165g CO2
  • 20g olive: 46g CO2
  • 1 tsp tomato paste: 45g CO2
  • Basil, salt, pepper: 9g CO2
  • Shot of olive oil: 48g CO2
  • Garlic clove + chilli: 6g CO2

Added up, this results in 1483g CO2 per approx. 275g. So 540g CO2 per 100g spread. From the quantity one takes certainly for a well spread bread also approximately the same weight as the ingredients from the first calculation, thus 70g and would be thus only approx. 377g CO2 instead of 643g CO2 - nearly halved. If I buy all the ingredients fresh, I'm under 15€ and of course I can't cover my bread with it just once. If I assume that I can repeat the recipe four times with four packages of feta cheese, I am under 6€ per 275g, so about 2€ per 100g.

What about a vegan version? Here I have opted for a sweet curry:

  • 200 g tofu: 362g CO2
  • 1 large apple 250g: 100g CO2
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice: 8g CO2
  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds: 32g CO2
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil: 32g CO2
  • 1 tsp salt + some pepper: 4g CO2
  • 1 tsp, heaped turmeric: 5g CO2
  • 1 tsp curry, sweet: 5g CO2
  • 1 tsp, gestr. curry, hot: 5g CO2
  • 1 piece of ginger (3*3cm): 5g CO2

These ingredients add up to just 558g of CO2 for approx. 500g of spread. With just under 112g CO2 per 100g spread and approx. 78g per loaf, we are significantly better off than with the sausage and cheese variant. With about 34€ for about 2kg of spread we are at about 1,70€ per 100g.

Accordingly, a more climate-friendly option doesn't have to be more expensive. What's more, there are so many delicious, healthy, and climate-friendly options, from tomato- or bell pepper- to lentil- and avocado- to fig- or date-based. There's something for everyone.

We wish you a good appetite.


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