Alternative proteins

Current meat production is unsustainable and inefficient. It is a key driver of climate change, environmental degradation, and antibiotic-resistant disease. Yet, these facts have not sparked significant behavior change: People are eating more meat than ever in the United States and around the world.

We can produce meat from plants or cultivate it from cells more sustainably and efficiently. This will mitigate climate change, environmental degradation, and the rise of antibiotic resistance. 

Alternative proteins refer to proteins which do not come from animals. Some alternative proteins, such as plant-based “mock meat” products made of soy or wheat proteins, have long been a traditional feature in our diets. New types of alternative proteins include cultured or cell-based meat grown under controlled conditions, and certain species of algae, fungi (mycoprotein) and insects. 

Plant-based proteins

Plant-based meat is produced directly from plants such as soy and wheat. Like animal-based meat, plant-based meat is composed of protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. It looks, cooks, and tastes like conventional meat, moreover, it is better for the animals and environments. 

Analysses of the environmental impact of plant-based meat show that plant-based meat production uses 72-99% less water and 47-99% less land. Further, it causes 51-91% less water pollution and emits 30-90% less greenhouse gas emissions. 

Plant-based meat production does not require any antibiotics. According to the New York Times, in the United States, between 70 and 80% of antibiotics sold are consumed by farm animals. By shifting to alternative proteins like plant-based meat, we can significantly decrease antibiotic use in our food production and keep antibiotics working for human health and wellbeing. 

Insect-based animal feed

 

References

What Are Alternative Proteins and How Do They Offer Hope for the Future (straydoginstitute.org)

Alternative Proteins: The nutritionists perspective - Sight and Life Breda Gavin-Smith

Plant-based and cultivated meat innovation | GFI

Alternative Proteins: What’s the deal? - Sight and Life Kalpana Beesabathuni