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UK supermarket food might soon carry eco-labels

Thanks to a new research initiative, supermarket shoppers could soon be checking the environmental impact of food before putting it in their trolleys. Up until now, because UK manufacturers only have to list their main ingredients, and that's by percentage, not amount. Scientists have overcome the problem by using public databases to estimate the composition of thousands of food products and their impact.

Many consumers want to know how their weekly food shop affects the planet, even though rising prices will likely be a more immediate concern for most. According to Prof Peter Scarborough from Oxford University, he hopes that the research leads to an eco-labelling system for customers, but he believes that the bigger impact would come if the food industry uses it to cut its environmental footprint.

He said the food industry has also been "crying out" for the new tool and that the algorithm is already being used by some manufacturers and caterers to make their meals more sustainable.



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