Food (miles) for Thought - Energy Balance for Locally-grown versus Imported Apple Fruit (3 pp)

  • Michael Blanke
  • Bernhard Burdick



This commentary compares the primary energy requirement for apples (cultivar ‘Braeburn’), which were either imported or locally-grown in Meckenheim, Germany. Imported apples of the same cultivar were grown in a Southern hemisphere winter in Nelson, Southland, New Zealand, and were picked at the end of March with subsequent 28 d transport by sea for sale in April in Germany. Locally-grown apples (cultivar ‘Braeburn’) were picked in mid-October and required a primary energy of nearly 6 MJ/kg of fruit including 0.8 MJoule/kg for five months CA storage at 1°C during a Northern hemisphere winter until mid-March. This compared favourably with 7.5 MJoule/kg for overseas shipment from New Zealand, i.e. a ca. 27% greater energy requirement for these imported fruits. Overall, the primary energy requirement of regional produce, stored several months on-site, partially compensated for the larger energy required to import fresh fruit from overseas. This result is in marked contrast to reported overestimates of a reported up to 8-fold energy requirement for domestic versus imported apple juice concentrate [7]. Our own findings of less primary energy required for domestic apple fruit is discussed with respect to providing local employment, fruit orchards preserving the countryside, quality assurance systems for local fruit such as QS and EUREP-GAP, networking and other factors favouring regional production.

life cycle assessment (LCA) fruits food miles food chain energy apples primary energy requirement transport 


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Copyright information

© Ecomed 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dr. Michael Blanke Obstversuchsanlage Klein-Altendorf Institut für Obstbau und Gemüsebau Universität Bonn Meckenheimer Str. 42 D-53359 Rheinbach
  2. 2.Bernhard Burdick Consumers Protection Agency of North Rhine-Westphalia Mintropstraße 27 40215 Düsseldorf

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