Climate calculator for your kitchen

Schnitzel, Käsespätzle or do you prefer Spaghetti Bolognese? Here you can calculate the suitability of your recipes for the climate.

Schnitzel, Käsespätzle or do you prefer Spaghetti Bolognese? Here you can calculate the suitability of your recipes for the climate.

Eating more climate-friendly foods is not so easy. Is salmon fillet better than mackerel? Should you snack on cashews – or do you prefer pistachios? Is lentil soup more climate-friendly than scrambled eggs with french fries and spinach? The interactive calculator shows how much carbon dioxide your dish is making. You can enter your own recipe or look at the examples.

You will then also receive an assessment of whether the dish is more suitable for the climate or more harmful. It is important to note that emissions alone are not taken into account in this assessment. It also takes into account how much of our daily nutritional requirements the food covers – eg in terms of fat and protein but also in terms of nutritional weight. A plate that covers a large proportion of what we need is more suitable for the climate than a plate that contributes little. So it is possible that dishes with the same CO₂ value are categorized differently. In addition, portions are standardized so that dishes with very high nutritional value or large portions are not automatically more harmful to the climate.

The team at Eaternity chose this method because otherwise the ‘climate-damaging’ result would always be shown to people who ate more. And the nutritional value is normalized so that some dishes with huge mass are not labeled but hardly any nutritional value is wrongly labeled.

If you are cooking for several people, you can simply indicate the number of servings prepared from the ingredients. Then the emissions for each part are shown on the right.

How are these values ​​formed? We explain the exact method in this article:

But we answer the most important questions here.

What does the calculator show?

The calculator collects the carbon dioxide emissions of individual foods and shows how much carbon dioxide a dish generates for each portion. Shown on the right are the components that represent the amount in the balance sheet. The calculator shows how climate-friendly a dish is – in terms of the nutrient content, portion or calorie content of the food. Depending on the classification, it can vary. The suitability of a meal to the climate can be assessed with the help of nutrients.

So you can see how you can make your food more climate friendly with a few changes. It is often enough to replace one ingredient or use less of it to significantly improve the CO2 balance. You can enter your favorite dishes into the calculator – and find out which ingredients are most important.

From farmer to fork to waste incinerator: What is the value composition of CO2 in the plate?

Carbon dioxide emissions result from food’s journey from the field through the factory and wholesale to the plate. All of these steps generate emissions – food scrap disposal and packaging also cause emissions. The calculator also takes them into account. However, packaging and transportation emissions from the supermarket home and electricity consumption for cooking are not included. The data comes from Eaternity AG, a Swiss company that advises restaurants and businesses on how to calculate their environmental footprint.

How is the average dish on which the rating is based?

Eaternity has determined a carbon footprint of 76,034 plates and calculated that an average of 3,994 grams of carbon dioxide is consumed per day to cover the daily requirement of nutrients. The dishes in the calculator are compared to this value. We classify dishes as good for the climate that cause less carbon dioxide compared to a similar medium dish in order to cover a similar portion of nutritional needs.

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Depending on whether the food is being compared on the basis of nutrients or calories, some dishes are categorized differently despite similar carbon dioxide emissions. Food that provides many important nutrients tends to be rated as more climate-friendly. The same is true – vice versa, of course – for the “bad” rating. A meal is classified as very good or very bad if it causes less than half or more than twice as much carbon dioxide, and also converts it to nutritional value. When comparing the climate according to servings and calories, we only show the difference in the average dish.

What is CO2 equivalent actually?

Carbon dioxide equivalents are a unit that makes it easy to categorize whether or not a food is good for the climate. Because the production of some foods not only emits carbon dioxide, but also methane. This is another greenhouse gas that is also harmful to the climate. However, if only carbon dioxide emissions were calculated, methane would not be included. This would improve the balance sheet.

The calculator takes this into account not only by displaying carbon dioxide emissions, but also so-called “CO2 equivalents”. Methane emissions are converted to carbon dioxide emissions using a scientific method. This is the only way foods can be compared to each other in terms of their impact on climate.

Seasonality, packaging, and CO2 consumption when cooking: What the calculator doesn’t take into account

The purpose of the values ​​displayed by the calculator is to provide direction. But they certainly are not. Because these are average values ​​- it could be the case, for example, that the balance sheet of a food product is much better in summer than in winter because it is not imported or because it ripens in the sun rather than in a heated greenhouse. The values ​​in the calculator show average food balances. Ripe tomatoes are averaged in the Brandenburg sun and their winter counterparts from heated greenhouses. In individual cases, the climate balance could be significantly better or worse than what the computer shows.

Even if uncanned food is purchased instead of a plastic can, the balance sheet improves. But only a little, because most of the emissions come from the very beginning: in agricultural production. The tool also does not calculate how much gas or electricity is used when cooking the dish.

Climate Calculator is part of a series on Food and Climate. Here you can watch the latest video about Indian cuisine in Berlin and its carbon footprint:

And of course, when it comes to climate protection, it’s not important to eat one meal. But on the amount and behavior of eating over longer periods of time. Beef fillet (200 grams) may be extremely harmful to the climate with 11,156 grams of carbon dioxide. But vegetarian eating behavior can be just as bad for the climate over a longer period of time: anyone who eats a slice of beef once a month, but apart from that eats a particularly climate-friendly diet, consumes just as much CO2. Carbon like everyone else. He eats Parmesan cheese every day for a month. Serving food: 11,340 grams (378 grams per 40 grams serving times 30 days).

This is another reason why it makes sense to experiment with a computer. This way, you can assess your eating behavior based on facts and knowledge of foods that affect your personal carbon dioxide balance. Even substituting beef or even pork for chicken can make a big difference. Not to mention the tofu.

All articles and videos of the series

Papaya & Fries: The new video series

Restaurateur Daeng Khamlao is in an internal struggle. For a native Thai, Asian food is part of her identity. Ingredients are often imported from faraway places, and thus are not necessarily climate friendly or sustainable. How can Daeng cook in a climate-friendly way without giving up the dishes of her homeland?

In the new video series Tagesspiegel produced with Berlin-based production company Schuldberg Films, she looks for a solution to this dilemma. Daeng, who runs Panda Noodle in Kreuzberg, visits several international restaurants and foodies in Berlin in five episodes and shows her their kitchens. You’re trying to find out: How bad is any kind of cooking really for the climate? Can you substitute well-transformed ingredients for Thai, African or Indian dishes with local ingredients? Or is this perhaps not necessary at all? You find unusual dishes along the way – and maybe also something from the future Berlin kitchens.

In the first episode, Daeng meets nutritionist Ann Katherine Berman and shows off her own kitchen. It can be seen on or on YouTube.


Released January 12, 2022.

Last update on January 31, 2022.

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