Because of the globalization of our food supply, we took for granted that we can get any type of food at any time, no matter the season. However, the recent backlog of shipping containers, causing shortages, has brought to our attention how much we relied on products from around the world. Is it time to rethink the hidden journey that imported products take to get to our refrigerators?
Imported Beverages Leave a Big Footprint
Since 1961, the demand for world agricultural trade has increased at a steady pace. Via “The Case for Local Food in a Global Market”:
“The value of international trade in food has tripled since 1961, while the tonnage of food shipped between countries has grown fourfold, during a time when the human population only doubled.”
Researchers refer to this transportation cost as “food mileage”. To put it simply—food miles are a means to calculate the average distance an item must travel before it arrives at your supermarket.
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture conducted a study to try and understand the relationship between locally produced products and their inherent carbon footprint versus products that require significant transportation. Their report found that locally produced products, when consciously manufactured, left a lower footprint and contributed significantly to the local economy:
“[the results find] that there is intrinsic economic gain to be achieved from local foods production.”
The Leopold Center researchers were surprised to find that even domestic products travel an average of 1,500 miles before they arrive at your grocery store. Imagine the transportation miles accrued for an imported product from France (such as Perrier Sparkling Water)! From Marseille (France) to New York is about 4000 nautical miles. If it continues to travel over land to reach Los Angeles, California, that adds another 2800 miles. Using this carbon calculator, one 20’ container (estimated weight of 12.5 tons) traveling from Marseille, France to Los Angeles via rail, ship, and truck, emits 5 tons of CO2e into the atmosphere.
The Economical & Ecological Impact of Domestic Beverages
In contrast, Crystal Geyser Sparkling water is bottled and distributed primarily in the West. For a 12.5-ton container to travel from its birthplace of Calistoga, California, to the City of Angeles, it emits only 1 ton of CO2e. Even an 1800-mile journey to Dallas, Texas would be 2 tons of CO2e per 12.5-ton container. By being produced and distributed domestically, Crystal Geyser Sparkling emits just a fraction of carbon compared to imported European waters.
And remember, these CO2e numbers are just for one container. Hundreds of containers transport water across the Atlantic Ocean weekly to be distributed throughout the US. Why purchase an imported water when Crystal Geyser is made right here in the USA?
Beyond the obvious benefits of a lower carbon footprint, American made products have positive impacts on the local and domestic economy. For one, the local economy retains an average of $68 for every $100 spent when you support a local business. And according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, local businesses create more jobs and provide better wages to your fellow community members.
You Are What You Drink
With incredible access to products from all across the world, consumers have more power than ever. And to quote a certain spider-centric comic book, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
The next time you’re at the grocery store in the soft drink aisle, you might be dazzled by the European sparkling waters. These beverages indeed have a certain imported prestige to them. Yet it's important to remember the hidden journey those drinks traveled to get on the shelf. Consider the substantial carbon footprint that kind of travel creates. Furthermore, choosing a domestically produced product will have direct benefits to the local and national economy.
If you find the implications of choosing an imported beverage to be heavy on your conscience, then there’s an easy alternative! All Crystal Geyser Sparkling waters are proudly produced in California. We like to keep our product simple so your choice is simple.