Avoid air-freighted food

Food transported by air releases around 50 times as much carbon dioxide as food transported by sea.


kg CO2 eq per tonne-kilometer

Transport mode

Ambient transport 

Temperature-controlled transport

Road Transport


0.2 to 0.66

Rail Transport



Sea/Water Transport



Air Transport



How to avoid air-freighted food?

Avoid eating highly perishable fruits and vegetables if they are not in season.

The transportation method for fruits and vegetables such as asparagus, mangoes, berries, and cherries is often by air.

If transported via air, it may be hard to tell, as most product packaging does not include the method of freight. Your best indicator is the cost of the product. If it’s more expensive, it could be because it’s travelled by air. 

The best thing you can do is follow the seasons in your region. Check the harvest seasons in your region here.

How to identify air-freighted food?

There’s very little information available for consumers about which food products are being shipped by aeroplane, making it difficult for us as consumers to make considered decisions.

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to make choices when buying fruit and vegetables.

How are perishable goods transported? Perishables are typically shipped by air in order to minimise the time taken to arrive at a location. These products are frequently for human consumption and have a short shelf life.

Some of the fruit and vegetables that are often freighted via air:

  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Berries
  • Cherries

The above examples are common examples, but are not the only products being shipped via air.

Follow these suggestions:

Avoid highly perishable products. As a general rule of thumb, don’t buy highly perishable products that are not in season and local.

Use wilted fruits for smoothies and wilted vegetables for soups.

Refrigerate where you can, keep vegetables fresh by storing the stems in water and turn less fresh fruits and vegetables into pickles and preserves if you can.

What else can you do?

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