Abstract An environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study of a specific tomato ketchup was carried out. The objectives of the work were to illustrate how LCA can be used in production development; to investigate the influence of the geographical location of certain processes; and to find ways to improve the product's environmental performance. In the screening LCA which includes the whole life cycle, the packaging and processing sub-systems were found to be significant in the total environmental impact made by ketchup. Accordingly, six alternative systems, including packaging, processing and transportation, were modelled and simulated. The environmental impact categories included were energy use, global warming, acidification, eutrophication, photo-oxidant formation and the generation of radioactive waste. It was concluded that the current geographical location of the production of ketchup is preferable; the contributions to acidification can be reduced significantly; and the environmental profile of the product can be improved for either the type of tomato paste currently used or a less concentrated tomato paste. A shift to a less concentrated paste would also mean that traditional quality parameters of the ketchup could be improved.