Evaluating the desirability of a vegan food basket in terms of environmental dimensions and comparing it to Iranian society's common food basket

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph. D. Candidate, Department of Water Engineering, College of Abouraihan, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Professor, Department of Water Engineering, College of Abouraihan, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

3 Associate Professor, Department of Water Engineering, College of Abouraihan, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

4 Associate Professor, Department of Renewable Energies Engineering, Faculty of New Sciences & Technologies, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

5 Associate Professor, Department of Community Nutrition, School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran.

6 Professor, Department of Environmental Conservation, College of Natural Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA.


Food production and consumption is one of the important dimensions of agriculture's impact on water resources. Therefore, changing the household food basket can directly affect the status of water resources. In this study, water and carbon footprint indices were used to determine the desirability of two Vegan and common food baskets in the community. The results showed that although the United Nations Water Crisis Index (UN/WCI) still shows a severe water crisis by changing the common food basket to a vegan food basket, the promotion and selection of vegan food baskets can reduce the pressure on Iran's water resources and environment. Vegan and common food baskets result in a water footprint of 56.3 and 62.7 BCM, respectively. With a production of 205.5 million tons of CO2 per year, the vegan food basket produces about 3.9 million tons less CO2 than the common food basket. In general, vegan food basket causes a 10% reduction in water consumption and about 2% reduction in carbon footprint compared to the common food basket. In the study of the share of the vegan food groups in water footprint, the group of legumes and nuts (38%) and in terms of produced carbon footprint, the group of vegetables (27%) have the greatest impact on water resources. The results of this study suggest that by changing the common food basket to a vegan food basket, fruit and vegetable food groups should have a greater share in meals. Instead, the consumption of meats, breads and cereals (especially rice) should be reduced.


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