Water Footprints for our Meals

A water footprint by definition is an indicator of how much water goes into a product. When applied to food, this indicator does not only take into consideration the direct water use like irrigation, but the water consumed during the product’s entire supply chain. “The water footprint of any animal product is larger than the water footprint of crop products with equivalent nutritional value,” Mekonnen and Hoekstra write in their study. At the most elementary level, this visualisation tries to illustrate this comparison graphically.

Comparison between countries
Comparing the water consumption between two countries provides additional insight. As per the data, the ‘water cost’ of making a kilogram of strawberries in Germany is more than Denmark. This could suggest the difference in manufacturing techniques and the supply chain practices between two countries.

As an interactive document, the visualisation is divided into three segments – breakfast, lunch and dinner. For each of the segments, the user can click over the centre to cycle through the various meal options and view the water footprints of their key ingredients.

Link to the live data vis