The hidden water resource use behind meat and dairy

Arjen Ysbert Hoekstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


• The consumption of animal products contributes to more than one-quarter of the water footprint of humanity. The water needed to produce feed is the major factor behind the water footprint of animal products. Reviewing feed composition and the origin of feed ingredients is essential to find ways to reduce the water footprint of meat and dairy. • The water footprint of any animal product is larger than the water footprint of a wisely chosen crop product with equivalent nutritional value. • In industrialized countries, moving toward a vegetarian diet can reduce the food-related water footprint of people by 36%. • Reducing the water footprint of meat and dairy requires an international approach and product transparency along the full supply chain of animal products
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal frontiers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • IR-81617
  • METIS-285555


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