Food manufacturing: energy requirements and hotspot roadmaps

Lead University: The University of Manchester

Professor Adisa Azapagic, Dr Alessandra Fusi, Dr Namy Espinoza Orias (visiting Scientist)


Energy is needed at every level of the food value chain, from the production of agricultural inputs, agricultural production in the field, food processing, transportation, consumption. Agriculture consumes only about 20% while food processing requires around 40% of total energy in food chains. Energy generation and consumption are associated with a number of environmental impacts, such as depletion of resources, climate change, acidification, eutrophication.

This study focuses on energy consumption in food processing to help identify the main hotspots, which can then be targeted for improvement. The following key foods are considered: cereal products, fruit and vegetable products, milk and dairy products and vegetable oils and fats. The study also provides a roadmap for determination of the major energy hotspots in different food manufacturing processes.


  • The energy hotspot is generally heat treatment due to the use of fossil fuel.
  • The only exceptions are freeze-drying and freezing which rely on electricity.
  • Among the heat treatments, the most energy intensive are evaporation and drying.

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