Which crop is the biggest water hog? (Warning: You’re not gonna like the answer.)
Agriculture is thirsty work. Growing and processing food takes a ton of water, and it's only going to get worse as the world warms. So which crop has the biggest water footprint? (That's defined, by the way, as the volume of fresh water used to make the product, across all steps of production.) You're not going to like this, or at least I don't: It's chocolate.
The global average water footprint for chocolate is 24,000 liters per kilogram (2,876 gallons per pound), according to the nonprofit Water Footprint Network. Even generally wretched-for-the-environment beef farming is less water-hungry, at 15,500 liters per kilogram. Here's how a few other staples [PDF] check out:
- Cheese: 5,000 L/kg
- Pork: 4,800 L/kg
- Olives: 4,400 L/kg
- Chicken: 3,900 L/kg
- Cabbage: 200 L/kg
- Coffee: 140 L/cup
- Lettuce: 130 L/kg
- Wine: 120 L/glass
- Beer: 75 L/glass
- Tea: 30 L/cup
Well, I can see we're all going to be very very skinny and unhappy, but at least we'll be wired and drunk!
What fruit or vegetable has the largest water footprint?, Guardian.
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