Carbon Foot-print Analysis and Life Cycle Assessment of Mayonnaise production. A comparison of their results and messages

A C Hetherington, M C McManus, D A Gray

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A comparison of Carbon Foot-print analysis (CFA) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) results was performed for the mayonnaise production system. The analysis enabled both the carbon footprint and wider environmental burdens of the system to be ascertained, together with an assessment of the extent to which the methodologies provide a consistent message concerning the relative contributions to the overall impacts of the system.
Mayonnaise is an oil in water emulsion containing approximately 70 – 80% fat (Depree and Savage (2001)) .The type of oil used varies according to brand, with Kraft using predominantly soybean oil ( and Hellmann’s using rapeseed oil ( This paper reports on the dual CFA and LCA performed using a rapeseed oil based mayonnaise as the end product, with the functional unit of ‘1 tonne of rapeseed oil mayonnaise produced in UK, packaged in 600g jars, palletised and ready for distribution’. As a cradle to gate analysis, the finishing boundary was the mayonnaise packaging facility and no account was therefore taken of retail, use or disposal.
Analysis was performed using SimaPro 7.3.2, with Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) performed using IPCC (2007) and ReCiPe (2008) at both mid and endpoint levels.
The carbon footprint of 1 tonne of packaged & palletised Mayonnaise was found to be 1.95 tonne CO2e, with rapeseed oil providing the largest contribution, with 53.89 % of the footprint. The next largest contributors were packaging glass and power consumption, with 21.43 % and 13.31% of the footprint respectively.
LCIA using ReCiPe(2008) revealed that at the endpoint level, the largest contributors to single score were again rapeseed oil, glass and power although the most significant impact category for each of these was fossil depletion, rather than climate change, which ranked second. Similarly, Climate change is not the most significant impact category when the normalised midpoint data was reviewed, with the toxicity and eutrophication categories showing as having far greater impacts. Midpoint analysis does however confirm rapeseed oil as the largest contributor of impacts.
The analysis performed demonstrates that Climate change is not indicated as the most significant environmental burden at either the mid or endpoint stage when the full spectrum of environmental impacts are analysed within an LCA. However whether analysed using CFA or LCA, the contribution from rapeseed oil is highlighted as the most significant within the process. Thus, information from either study would result in impact reduction efforts being targeted consistently.

Depreee, J.A and Savage, G.P. 2001. Physical and flavour stability of mayonnaise. Trends in Food Science & Technology, Vol. 12, Issues 5–6, 2001, Pages 157–163,accessed 09/07/2012, accessed 09/07/2012
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2012
EventSETAC - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 26 Nov 201228 Nov 2012




  • life cycle assessment
  • carbon footprints
  • Mayonnaise
  • Rapeseed oil


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