The Banana Index (from The Economist)

The Economist recently released an article titled “A different way to measure the climate impact of food”, which proposes a reference framework to compare the impact food has on the environment. The creators of the Big Mac index proposed a simple approach: let’s compare the footprint of food against… that of bananas. And that’s how the Banana Index came to life :banana:

I thought it would be useful to bring the data into Observable and start playing with it. I’m looking forward to new and creative ways of slicing and dicing the data! What types of conclusion would you be interested to reach based on this data? How would you visualise them? Let me know your thoughts through this post or as a comment in the notebook itself.


Beef is so bad, no wonder the Big Mac index is causing problems :slight_smile:

How do you read the tooltips? At first glance it seems to be meaning the opposite (you’d need 1 banana or 551 tea serves to get as many proteins)?

Never thought I’d see a serious application of Banana for Scale. :grinning:

1 Like

Right, some more text will definitely help the reader :sweat_smile: The tooltip should be read as “Tea contributes 551.4 more times CO₂ than bananas in order to get the same amount of proteins”. When choosing to show absolute numbers we can see tea=4257.8 and bananas=7.7 kg CO₂ per 100 grams of protein provided.

Thanks for checking the viz out!

1 Like

Only tangentially related, but you might also enjoy this venn diagram from an article about the banana genome where a banana is one of the venn areas: