Such a 'protein transition' will positively affect sustainable energy production, sustainable water use, biodiversity, human health and animal welfare. Collective vegetarianism is not required, but good-tasting, high quality meat substitutes ought to be used more often in place of meat. This is the most important finding of a comprehensive study of more sustainable protein production.
The study is called PROFETAS (Protein Foods, Environment, Technology And Society). The researchers are from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Wageningen University & Research Centre and the University of Twente.
The PROFETAS-researchers are arguing for a 'protein transition': we must eat less meat and partly replace our protein requirements with so-called Novel Protein Foods (NPFs). These NPFs are based on plant proteins that are derived from, for example, peas or soya. While we don't all have to adopt a vegetarian diet, a change in production is necessary, and above all, a change in mentality.
A conservative estimation by the researchers found that because so much land would become available to cultivate biomass, a quarter of the world's current energy consumption could be sustainably met from this energy source. Moreover, this can be achieved without affecting grasslands and nature areas, such as tropical rainforests.
A protein transition can also help to put a meat industry plagued by animal diseases and crises back on the rails. Approximately one third of the global trade in cattle and meat is currently afflicted by outbreaks of diseases, causing billions of euros damage.
Finally, a protein transition will also have a positive influence on people's health, through the reduction of many meat-related and obesity-related diseases.
MEDICA.de; Source: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam