Enquiring minds can now tot up their meal’s travel miles – at least for items available through SPUD, a Vancouver-based grocery delivery service.
“Our customers said that they wanted to buy more locally . . . [so we started reporting] the distance that each of our products travels to get to our warehouse,” says SPUD president David Van Seters.
The figures, offered on SPUD’s website, make for interesting comparison shopping: Amy’s Kitchen enchiladas trek 1,432 km to get to SPUD, while Que Pasa enchiladas saunter a mere 15 km; Hardbite chips journey 37 km, while the Kettle brand equivalent voyages 600 km.
The figures aren’t a product’s full travel tally; for processed products, the other big factor is how far component ingredients travelled to get to the manufacturer. But for produce, the numbers provide a fairly accurate travel total, enabling a menu planner watching his family’s carbon intake to assess whether it’s better to whip up cabbage soup from Delta’s
finest cabbage (28 km), borscht with Oregon beets (530 km), or cream of Californian broccoli (1,753 km).
The numbers also contain some happy surprises. For example, the organic basil on the company’s website last December wasn’t from Mexico or California, as one might expect – it had come only 50 km, all the way from sunny Surrey.