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January 5th 2021

The BBC's leading science programme, Horizon, this week chose to take a look at a variety of food products commonly consumed in the UK and assess their individual environmental impacts.

Focussing primarily on carbon footprints, farmed Scottish salmon performed significantly better in the study than all other major UK-produced animal proteins including beef, lamb and even free-range chicken.

The scientific research, led by the University of Lancaster's Professor Mike Berners-Lee, concluded that every kilogram of edible salmon grown accounts for just 4.1 kilograms of CO2, the same as wild caught cod. By comparison a kilo of UK beef accounts for 25 kilograms of CO2 emissions.

With 80% of farmed Scottish salmon's carbon footprint arising from feed production, new technologies currently being explored by the sector are likely to bring about further significant improvements in the near future. These include partially replacing existing fishmeal ingredients with insect-derived or even CO2-derived feed substitutes.

Among those taking part in the programme was acclaimed chef Mark Jarvis, who runs two award-winning London restaurants. When asked by host Greg Wallace about the importance of provenance and the use of Scottish salmon in his cookery Mr Jarvis said:

"I'm passionate about where the food has come from, how far it's travelled to get to our plates and can we get it better locally and better for the environment.

"Salmon is probably the biggest selling fish we have on... I've got a good trust in my suppliers, I know where they are getting it from, the farms, so yes I'm very confident and happy to have it on my menu."

LEARN MORE: Scottish Salmon Sustainability Charter: A Better Future For Us All