1 liter of rice is how many kg

These foods are particularly water-intensive - water consumption in food production

We use water every day. And not just when brushing your teeth, washing and cooking. Water is also used in the manufacture of clothing, electrical appliances and food. This amount of water, which is hidden behind all possible products and is not immediately apparent to us, is called “virtual water consumption”. Today I would like to introduce you to foods that are very water-intensive and those that get by with comparatively little water.

To get an easy orientation, I would like to pick up a few numbers. 70% of the world's water used goes into agriculture. Worldwide, an average of 2,300 liters of virtual water is consumed for food every day. In industrialized nations, due to the increased consumption of meat, one even comes to 4000 liters!

These are orders of magnitude that, to be honest, I can't really picture them. But it is clear that this is a lot. By making food choices more consciously, we can improve our own water footprint and help ensure that less precious water is used in the production of food.

(For a general overview of the topic of water scarcity, please have a look here.)

It is common practice to indicate the virtual water consumption in liters / kg. However, the values ​​quoted by different sources differ in some cases. This is probably because different factors are included in the calculations or different calculation bases are used. For example, it depends a lot on where a product is grown. For example, potatoes that come from Germany require significantly less water than potatoes that come from more southern countries. The data on which I mainly rely comes from Warenvergleich.de and waterfootprint.org.

Photo by Peter Gonzalez on Unsplash

Particularly water-intensive foods

Many people know that meat in particular consumes a lot of virtual water. A burger meat patty of 150 g each requires a total of 2250 liters of water. This number is made up of the water required for feed production and the water requirement of the cow. beef With more than 15,000 liters of water per kg, it is the meat that has the highest water consumption.

But there is more! Because meat is actually not at the top of the water-intensive foods: it actually leads Cocoa beans (27,000 l / kg) and Roasted coffee (21,000 l / kg) on ​​the list.

Right behind it is meat. As already mentioned, beef has by far the highest water consumption of the meat types. For 1 kg pork meat almost 5,000 liters of water are required for poultry approx. 4,000 liters. Also nuts and millet are quite water-intensive with 5,000 liters of water per kg.

Following rice (3 470 l / kg) and Eggs (3 300 l / kg). The only animal product that is needed under 3,000 liters of water milk with 600 liters per kilogram.

The one so popular with us asparagus Compared to other vegetables, it also has a very high water requirement at 1,470 l / kg. Need a similar amount of water wheat and barley

The fruit with the worst water footprint is actually the most popular one Avocado: 1,500 l / kg - that's equivalent to 10 bathtubs full of water for 3 avocados! Because of these frightening numbers, it fell a bit into disrepute some time ago. What many don't know is that Soybeans need even more water: a total of 2050 l / kg!

Little water-intensive food

If you look at the lower extreme of the list, you will notice that almost only vegetables and fruits are represented here. The food with the least water consumption is that tomato with 110 liters per kilogram. If you just hear the number, I still think it sounds like a lot of water. However, if you compare the most economical food with the most water-intensive food, the difference becomes clear: Tomatoes require almost 340 times less water than cocoa beans!

In addition to tomatoes are also included Carrots (130 l / kg), Potatoes (210 l / kg), Greenersalad (240 l / kg), Strawberries (280 l / kg), Onions (280 l / kg), Cucumbers (350 l / kg), Lemons (360 l / kg) and Apples (700 l / kg) to the foods with the lowest water consumption.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Finally, here is a list of the foods mentioned, starting with the very water-intensive foods:

  • Cocoa beans (27,000 l / kg)
  • Roasted coffee (21,000 l / kg)
  • Beef (15 490 l / kg)
  • Nuts (5,000 l / kg)
  • Millet (5,000 l / kg)
  • Pork (4 730 l / kg)
  • Poultry (4,000 l / kg)
  • Rice (3470 l / kg)
  • Eggs (3 300 l / kg)
  • Soybeans (2 050 l / kg)
  • Avocados (1 500 l / kg)
  • Asparagus (1 470 l / kg)
  • Wheat (1 410 l / kg)
  • Barley (1 300 l / kg)
  • Apples (700 l / kg)
  • Milk (600 l / kg)
  • Lemon (360 l / kg)
  • Cucumber (350 l / kg)
  • Onion (280 l / kg)
  • Strawberries (280 l / kg)
  • Green salad (240 l / kg)
  • Potatoes (210 l / kg)
  • Carrots (130 l / kg)
  • Tomatoes (110 l / kg)

The overview makes it clear that a big difference could be made with a reduced meat consumption. As described at the beginning, our virtual water consumption is around 4000 liters per person per day. With an average of 1,600 liters of water per day, vegetarians use 2,400 liters less virtual water than people who eat an omnivorous diet.

If you do not want to eat meat-free from one day to the next, you can save a lot of water by having a meat-free day a week: Just one meat-free day a week saves enough water to be able to take a warm shower every day for a year and a half!

If you want to find out more about sustainability and nutrition or mindfulness, have a look here past.

Photo by Stijn te Strake on Unsplash

Written by Luise Jacobs