What is Processing?
Processing is a measure of the amount of energy required for the factory processing of an ingredient (or ingredients within a product). Varying amounts of energy are used in the factory processing of any ingredient. It is useful to look at GHG Emissions and Processing together when considering an ingredient's overall contribution to climate change, as GHG Emissions covers the first stage of an ingredient's journey, while processing includes the next stage.
How does Processing relate to agriculture, product development, and the food system?
Ingredients are assessed for energy requirements of processing after they arrive at the factory and before combination into final products. For example, wheat flour would have all stages of milling’s energy requirements assessed. That would include washing, grinding, sorting, and sifting, and bleaching when applicable.
Varying amounts of energy are used in the factory processing of a given ingredient. It is useful to look at GHG Emissions and Processing together when considering an ingredient's overall contribution to climate change, as GHG Emissions covers the first stage of an ingredient's journey, while processing includes the next stage.
What are the biggest contributors to high Processing impact?
The most intensively processed ingredients are those which require a combination of high heat and intensive chemical applications. Non-caloric flavorings, processing aids, and additives tend to score particularly poorly, such as citric acid, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, lactic acid, vitamin D3, aspartame.
How do we measure Processing impact?
Processing is calculated based on average megajoules used to process a metric ton of finished ingredient.
Processing Threshold Distribution Values:
Ingredients Along the Processing Impact Spectrum:
Key Data Sources
How does my ingredient portfolio compare to others in the industry when it comes to Processing?
To see how your Processing stacks up against the industry average, you can benchmark your portfolio score and metric averages here.
What is the relationship to the HowGood Impact Score?
Processing is one of the eight core metrics that make up the HowGood Impact Score. To learn more about the HowGood Impact Score and how Processing influences it, click here.
How do I improve impact as a product developer?
The best way to improve Processing impact is to eliminate ingredients that require energy-intensive processing and replace the ingredient with a minimally processed ingredient.
For certain ingredients, there are options to switch the processing strategy. For example, switching from conventional oil to an expeller pressed oil, or from a conventional protein isolate to an expeller pressed protein isolate can improve Processing impact.