Skip to main content

Bringing nutrition and life cycle assessment together (nutritional LCA): opportunities and risks


Graphical abstract

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.



  • Astrup A et al (2020) Saturated fats and health: a reassessment and proposal for food-based recommendations. J Am Coll Cardiol 76(7):844–857

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Boer A (2021) Fifteen years of regulating nutrition and health claims in Europe: the past, the present and the future. Nutrients 13:1725.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Drewnowski A (2018) Measures and metrics of sustainable diets with a focus on milk, yogurt, and dairy products. Nutr Rev 76(1):21–28

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Drewnowski A et al (2020) Towards healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Curr Dev Nutr 4(6):nzaa083.

  • FAO (2010) Greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy sector. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome.

  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand (2021) Australian Food Composition Database. Accessed February 2021

  • Gheewala SH, Jungbluth N, Notarnicola B, Ridoutt B, van der Werf H (2020) No simple menu for sustainable food production and consumption. Int J Life Cycle Assess 25:1175–1182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Green A, Nemecek T, Chaudhary A, Mathys A (2020) Assessing nutritional, health, and environmental sustainability dimensions of agri-food production. Glob Food Sec 26:100406.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Green A, Nemecek T, Smetana S, Mathys A (2021) Reconciling regionally-explicit nutritional needs with environmental protection by means of nutritional life cycle assessment. J Clean Prod 312:127696.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • ISO (2006) ISO 14040:2006 Environmental management–life cycle assessment–principles and framework. International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland

  • ISO (2017) ISO14026:2017 Environmental labels and declarations–principles, requirements and guidelines for communication of footprint information. International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland

  • Motoshita M et al (2014) Consistent characterization factors at midpoint and endpoint relevant to agricultural water scarcity arising from freshwater consumption. Int J Life Cycle Assess 23:2276–2287

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ridoutt B (2021) A new Nutrient Rich Food index (NRF-ai) incorporating prevalence of inadequate and excessive nutrient intake. Food Funct (in review)

  • Ridoutt B, Baird D, Hendrie GA (2021) Diets within environmental limits: the climate impact of current and recommended Australian diets. Nutrients 13:1122.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ridoutt B, Motoshita M, Pfister S (2019) An LCA impact assessment model linking land occupation and malnutrition-related DALYs. Int J Life Cycle Assess 24:1620–1630

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stucki M et al (2021) How life cycle–based science and practice support the transition towards a sustainable economy. Int J Life Cycle Assess 26:1062–1069

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stylianou KS et al (2016) A life cycle assessment framework combining nutritional and environmental health impacts of diet: a case study on milk. Int J Life Cycle Assess 21:734–746

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stylianou KS, Fulgoni VL III, Jolliet O (2021) Small targeted dietary changes can yield substantial gains for human and environmental health. Nat Food 2:616–627

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Waterman C (2020) Dairy farm monitor project – Victoria – Annual report 2019–20. Victorian Government Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Melbourne, Australia

  • Weidema BP, Stylianou KS (2020) Nutrition in the life cycle assessment of foods—function or impact? Int J Life Cycle Assess 25:1210–1216

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bradley Ridoutt.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares he is a member of a research group on environmental and nutritional LCA methodologies coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The author has undertaken food systems research related to environmental issues for a variety of private sector organizations and Australian government agencies. This has included Dairy Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia.

Additional information

Communicated by Arnaud Hélias.

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ridoutt, B. Bringing nutrition and life cycle assessment together (nutritional LCA): opportunities and risks. Int J Life Cycle Assess 26, 1932–1936 (2021).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Agriculture
  • Food system
  • Functional unit
  • Impact assessment
  • Nutrient composition
  • Nutrient profiling
  • Sustainable diet