3 months ago

Alt-Protein: Eating away climate change?

  • Text
  • Protein
  • European
  • Climate
  • Proteins
  • Novel
  • Euobserver
  • Foods
  • Products
  • Mycelium
  • Sustainable
An EUobserver magazine exploring the transition to a more climate-friendly diet.

Editor’s introduction

Editor’s introduction BY ALEJANDRO TAUBER Just a few years ago, before the world moved on to talk seemingly exclusively about AI, the prevailing hype centred around the potential of alternative proteins – that is, proteins produced from sources other than livestock. AD Companies producing meat alternatives from plants, fungi and insects sprouted all over the globe, attracting both consumer and investor interest. The idea fits in nicely with a rapidly-growing world population needing both more protein and less reliance on animals to remain within our planetary ecological boundaries. People stuck at home during the first year of the Covid pandemic (ironically enough, caused in part by our reliance on animal meat) were eager to try out new things to cook at home, driving sales of alternative meat products up 60 percent in Germany, for example. Lately, in the past year or so, the hype seems to have died down, even as the variety of alternative protein products in supermarkets has expanded, and startups that didn’t exist just a few years are opening industrial-scale facilities. And that’s a shame. Food production accounts for about 34 percent of global greenhouse emissions, mainly caused by livestock and the feed required to raise them. In a report on alternative proteins, the Good Food Institute states that “today’s protein production systems are the single largest anthropogenic use of land and driver of deforestation.” On top of that, rising food prices and food-security issues resulting from geopolitical tensions and Russia’s war on Ukraine have shown that the EU is vulnerable when it comes to providing for itself and its citizens. While not a panacea, alternative proteins could provide a more sustainable and less vulnerable source of food for countries by both reducing demand on inputs and localising production. Which is why we’re dedicating this issue of the EUobserver magazine to alternative proteins, to show the status quo in 2023, the hurdles we need to tackle, and the future opportunities for the EU and the world. Let’s keep up the hype. 3

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