Why food?

Our diet has a big impact on our carbon footprint – Oxford’s food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the city’s cars. [Ref]. Good Food Oxford teamed up with Low Carbon Oxford North to make it easy to eat for health, taste buds and planet.

Sustainable eating in a nutshell

Our handy infographic summarises the best ways to eat sustainably and healthily. Stick it on your fridge as a reminder.

LCON food poster

Get started

1. Eat more plants and less meat

The carbon footprint of vegetarian or vegan meals can be up to 70% smaller than meals containing meat. Plant-based diets have also been proven to be better for health. 

How to start Try eating more veggie meals each week. Try these protein packed vegetarian recipes, from our Midsummer Supper event at Vaults & Garden.

If you do one thing Cut down on red meat consumption. It has a far larger carbon footprint than all other food.

Did you know? Nearly half of North Oxford residents are trying to eat less meat. Read more about our research here.

2. Waste less

The average UK household wastes £470 of food a year, and one third of global food produced (and therefore the associated emissions) is wasted.

How to start Try to plan your meals ahead, stick to a shopping list and have fun with leftover recipes.
If you do one thing Check out lovefoodhatewaste.org for recipes and tips.

3. Quality not quantity

The average person eats over 1000 calories more than the recommended amount every day – bad for emissions and health.

Buying from no further afield than Europe can reduce your GHG footprint by 8 – 13%. Sourcing seasonal, local and organic will also reduce your carbon footprint.

How to start: Check traffic light nutrition labels and swap processed food for fresh, seasonal produce.
If you do one thing: Buy close to home instead of flown (check out our local food directory here)

To see the evidence behind these points, read our background research reviews.

Ready for more committed sustainable eating?

We’ve gathered resources to help: carbon footprinting tools, protein content charts, sustainable food suppliers, packing and transport information, and more. You can find them here.



Sustainable Diet Research Review
This report summarises key research on sustainable diets and ways to change eating behaviours.
The good news is that research has consistently shown that the best diets for the planet are the best for your body too! Win win!

The top ways to eat healthily and sustainably:
1. Eat fewer animal products and more plants
2. Waste less
3. Eat the correct amount, and source closer to home, seasonal and sustainably grown.

Some key (and often surprising!) findings about Britain’s food:

  • Of 13 different common diets, vegan and ‘go gently on the cheese’ vegetarian are the healthiest and most sustainable. An average UK diet and one with too many calories are the least healthy and sustainable.
  • £1 invested in Local Food returns £7 to society in the form of social and economic outcomes including health and well-being, training and skills.
  • Portion sizes have consistently risen over the last few decades, and research indicates that people struggle to identify correct portions sizes.
  • The average household wastes £470 of food each year, rising to £700 with children.
  • We have also identified a range of tools to help you achieve a healthy and sustainable diet, including an online calculator which gives a carbon and nutritional breakdown of the foods you input.
  • The majority of British people say that animal welfare, sustainable fish and ethical products are important, but far less actually buy products which reflect this.
  • The majority of British people value and also purchase British produce and healthy produce.
  • 40% of young men agree that red meat is bad for you, 25% of people expect to be eating no meat by 2025
  • Regardless of income, household purchases do not match recommended government dietary guidelines. 

Food in North Oxford Research
This report summarises North Oxford’s demographics, current food landscape and relevant local research and initiatives.

  • There are over 20 initiatives working on healthy, sustainable food in North Oxford
  • North Oxford is majority white British, well-educated with above health and above-average income.
  • North Oxford recycle more food than the Oxford average
  • There are five local veg box schemes which deliver to OX2.
  • We mapped over 160 food outlets in OX2 6, OX2 7 and OX2 8.
Report cover page

Fast Forward Oxfordshire
A zero carbon Oxfordshire in 2040 and how we get there. Report by Friends of the Earth, 2019. Download