Carbon Life Cycle

Carbon Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of our Products

Since the beginning, Annie’s has been committed to making a difference both in the products we make and how we do business. Sustainability is not only about lessening our impact on the earth we all share; it’s also about helping to make a positive difference where we have the greatest opportunity to do so, namely where and how our food is grown.

In 2012, we conducted a category-level life cycle assessment (LCA) of a representative sampling of our products. LCA is a methodology that assesses environmental impacts through all the stages of a product’s life, from “cradle-to-grave”. We specifically chose to focus this analysis on greenhouse gases (GHGs).

We know that carbon isn’t the only important issue, but we needed to narrow our focus to complete a comprehensive analysis with available resources. Through this work we quantified the carbon “hotspots” across Annie’s product lifecycle, from the farm all the way through to the consumer’s use and disposal. This helped us identify where our products have the biggest impacts from an energy and greenhouse gas emissions perspective.

Material Production
At 41%, the majority of our products’ GHG impacts take place at the farm where our ingredients are grown – i.e., material production.

Our manufacturers and co-packers who make our products contribute 11% of our products’ GHG impacts.

Our packaging production accounts for 11% of our products’ GHG impacts.

Our products are distributed primarily via truck to retailer locations; although these “food miles” are important, they represent just 16% of our products’ GHG impacts.

Interestingly, 19% of our products’ GHG impacts take place in consumers’ homes. Much of this comes from our macaroni-and-cheese because it requires gas or electricity to prepare.

End of Life
The final stage of product and packaging disposal makes up 2% of our products’ GHG impacts.

We’re excited about what we discovered in our LCA, as it’s helped us further develop our farm to fork programs. We’ve got a lot more to learn, but we’re committed to the path of sustainability for the long haul.