Technological watch

Estimating the carbon footprint of Mexican food consumption based on a high-resolution environmentally extended input-output model

Increased global attention is being paid to the food-health-climate trilemma. In this study, we evaluate the climate impacts of Mexico’s food consumption patterns by creating a high-resolution (262 sectors) Environmentally Extended Input-Output (EEIO) model called MXEEIO. We focus on the differences between food away from home (FAFH) and food at home (FAH) and compare Mexico’s results with those of the USA. The results show that the main components of food spending in Mexico were meat, baked products, and beverages, raising concerns about their potential negative health effects if consumed excessively. Mexico’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from food consumption were estimated at 149 million metric tons (MMT) in 2013, as opposed to 797 MMT for the USA. Meat and dairy products were the main contributors to Mexico’s food-related GHG emissions, accounting for 57% of total emissions. Mexico spent a much smaller proportion of food-related income on FAFH than the USA (13% vs. 52%), suggesting great potential for growth as Mexico’s per capita GDP continues to rise. Detailed contribution analysis shows that reducing Mexico’s food-related GHG emissions would benefit most from a transition to low-carbon cattle farming, but mitigation efforts in other sectors such as crop cultivation and electricity generation are also important. Overall, our study underscores the significance of food-related GHG emissions in Mexico, especially those from meat and dairy products, and the mitigation challenges these sectors face.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.