In summer TV and radio commercials get flooded with grilling advertisements. Grilled sausages, chicken and steaks are part of the food culture and Finnish tradition. For example, Juhannus celebration is the time when everyone who gets a chance enjoys barbequeing with their family and friends.

Spending time outdoors and enjoying the beautiful summer months are behind the love for grilled food. Although in Finland meat has been the most traditional bbq food, there are various options that can be as delicious. It is possible to bring variety to a plate by looking at seasonal vegetables and other non-meat options as new and tasty opportunities.

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Besides being a less healthy option, grilling meat is not environmentally friendly. Meat has a high carbon footprint, as it takes more land to raise cattle, grow food for the animals and provide them with enough water. On average, footprint of a Finnish person is 30 kg of CO2 per day. Producing one kg of beef emits 14 kg of carbon dioxide, which is almost half of a daily personal footprint. On the other side, both vegetarian and fish dishes have much smaller CO2 footprint. For example, the same amount of CO2 that comes from one kg of beef, comes from eating over two kg of fish or 17 kg of tofu*.

Carbon footprint from food is not an easy concept to understand, and even more difficult to consider in daily meal choices. In the infographic below we collected different options for you to consider when deciding on what you are going to grill.

Summer is short, and now is the time when fresh and delicious seasonal food is abundant to enjoy. After all, the choice is yours to make, whether you dare to step aside from meat and be more conscious and experimental in your summer grilling.

*More information on food’s carbon footprint can be found from kotihiili.fi/blog. In spring 2017 The Natural Step Finland, together with Seneqo and Miils, as part of Fiksu Kalasatama Smart&Clean pilot program, launched Kotihiili experiment. Kotihiili was a three-week long project for Kalasatama residents to analyse their carbon efficiency and behavior. Together with the residents, we developed new ways to reduce their impact and move towards a carbon-conscious lifestyle, including reducing climate impact from food consumption.