Portugal is Mediterranean country with ‘heaviest food footprint’

Portugal imports 73% of its food and is thus the Mediterranean country with the highest per capita ‘food footprint’, says a study published today by the University of Aveiro.

It means that “if everyone in the world consumed like the Portuguese, we would need 2.3 planet earths”, explain researchers.

Most at fault is the country’s appetite for fish. Portugal is the third largest consumer of fish in the world consuming around 61.7 kilos per person in 2017 when 60% of the biocapacity for producing this fish “comes from different countries”, says the study.

Fish like tuna, swordfish and cod are invariably ‘out-sourced’, adding to the “elevated intensity” of Portugal’s unsustainable ‘footprint’.

But dependence doesn’t stop there. The country relies on the “biocapacity of foreign nations, like Spain, France, Brazil and China” for ‘bread and cereals’, sugar, honey, jams, chocolate and ‘fats’.

Entitled: “Sustainable food transition in Portugal: an assessment of the footprint of food choices and gaps in national and local food policies”, the study doesn’t hold out any short-term hope for improvement. Concluding that “Portuguese food patterns are unsustainable”, it stresses the “still fragile structure of public policies to reverse this trend”.