Life cycle assessment of a popular deli meat

CASE STUDY | A major food producer requested PRé to do a life cycle assessment of a popular deli meat to educate staff, establish a baseline, and gain insight. The resulting model quantifies carbon, energy and water impacts of the deli meat.

August 03, 2012

Life Cycle Assessment for a Popular Deli Meat


The Challenge

A major food producer (“Meat Co.”) wanted to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for a popular deli meat to educate staff , establish a baseline for comparison to similar products, and gain insight into its supply chain.


PRé Solution

PRé conducted a workshop with Meat Co. staff to familiarize key personnel with LCA and to establish Meat Co.’s primary objectives for the study. Following this workshop, PRé worked with Meat Co. employees to collect primary data from its owned and controlled operations and to verify assumptions about non-Meat Co. controlled stages of the value chain. The resulting model was used to quantify the carbon, energy and water impacts of the deli meat as well as to track waste creation.


PRé found that the manufacturing phase, which includes cooking, is primarily responsible for the impacts associated with the production of this deli meat product. The results presented here (modified for confidentiality) also indicate that a sizeable portion of impacts come from the retail stage, an area outside of Meat Co.’s control but potentially a venue for future collaborative efforts. In addition to energy demand, carbon emissions, water consumption, and waste creation were also analyzed. While larger quantities of water consumption during manufacturing were expected, LCA results show that the fabrication of the intermediate packaging also consumes a significant amount of water, providing another possibility for reduction of impacts associated with this deli meat product.


Business Value

Working with PRé, Meat Co. discovered the following projectdriven benefits:

  • Creation of a benchmark for comparison to other deli meat products
  • Visibility into the relative impacts of the full life cycle of its
  • meat product
  • Illumination of the importance of the manufacturing stage for
  • this and other similar product types
  • sustainability issues at the farm and feed supply chain stages
  • The potential for alignment of sustainability objectives
  • throughout locations, teams, and business units.


Please contact our experts to learn more about this project.



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Cashion East
Cashion East
Senior Consultant