Nature and Biodiversity

Which foods need the most water to produce? 

Person works on farm growing vegetables.

Depending on your diet, the food you eat can have a huge water footprint. Image: Unsplash/Zoe Schaeffer

Martin Armstrong
Data Journalist, Statista
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  • Research from the Water Footprint Network has highlighted the amount of water required to produce a kilogram of food.
  • Bovine meat requires over 15,000 litres of water for 1kg of food.
  • Fruit and veg typically requires much less water.

We're all by now familiar with the term 'carbon footprint', but what about our water footprint? While most people have their upcoming bill in mind when taking a long shower or watering the lawn, does anyone really think about H20 when grocery shopping?

Have you read?

As the infographic below shows, depending on your diet, the food we buy can have a huge water footprint. If you buy 1kg of beef for a barbecue at the weekend, there has been an average of 15,415 liters of water used in its production!

Breaking up meat's monopoly as the most thirsty food type is nuts, with 9,063 liters of water needed to produce the average kilo. Further down the scale are fruits and vegetables, requiring 962 and 322 liters per kilogram respectively. In terms of the most water-efficient way to consume calories, the best option from this list is cereals -one kilocalorie demanding 0.51 liters.

How thirsty is our food?
Bovine meat requires over 15,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of food. Image: Statista
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Related topics:
Nature and BiodiversityIndustries in DepthFood and Water
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