A recent study of foreign trade in 2010, conducted by the Italian farmers' association Coldiretti, reveals that the ingredients of an average meal travel more than 1,900 kilometers by truck, ship or plane before arriving at Italian tables.
Last year, 74 percent of watermelons sold in Italy came from Brazil, 70 percent of peaches came from South Africa and 47 percent of blueberries were from Argentina. According to Coldiretti, there is no justification for the consumption of out-of-season fruit and vegetables from thousands of kilometers away. The main reason: transport in vehicles that release pollutants and greenhouse gases into the air hurts the environment.
The Italian farmers' association calculated that a kilo of cherries from Chile travels almost 12,000 kilometers before arriving in Italy, consuming 6.9 kilos of oil and emitting 21.6 kilos of carbon dioxide; while a kilo of blueberries from Argentina has to fly more than 11,000 kilometers, consuming 6.4 kilos of oil and releasing 20.1 kilos of carbon dioxide into the air.
Coldiretti argues that it often takes more energy to bring the meal to the consumer than the meal itself provides in terms of nutrition. According to the association, consumers can make a difference by buying seasonal, 0km foods and paying attention to packaging. By doing this, the average family can cut up to 1,000 kilos of carbon dioxide a year.