Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Mankind benefits from eating less meat


If people were to eat more vegetable proteins instead of animal proteins, this would result in multiple – and much-needed – benefits. 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 by nineteen economists, consumer researchers, food technologists, sociologists, political scientists, ecologists and chemists from three universities. The research findings are published in the book Sustainable Protein Production and Consumption: Pigs or Peas?. On Wednesday, April 12, the first copy of this book will be presented to Minister Veerman of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature & Food Quality. The target audience however is much wider, including all ‘stakeholders in the food chain, from policy makers to consumers.’

The study is called PROFETAS (Protein Foods, Environment, Technology And Society) and was financed by the Dutch National Science Foundation NWO and the Technology Foundation STW, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and private companies. The researchers are from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Wageningen University & Research Centre and the University of Twente.

Facts about meat

- to produce 1 kg of animal protein, 3 to 10 kg of plant protein is required, depending on the particular animal species and circumstances;

- 1 kg of beef requires 15 m3 water, one kg of lamb requires 10 m3 , while for one kg of grain 0.4 to 3 m3 is sufficient;

- 75 percent of available fresh water, 35 percent of available land and 20 percent of all energy resources are currently used for food production;

- between 1950 and 2000, the world’s population doubled from 2.7 to 6.7 billion people while meat production increased fivefold from 45 to 233 billion kg per year. The FAO predicts a global population of 9 billion people in 2050, and meat production of 450 billion kg per year.

Novel Protein Foods

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. It is true that in Western countries meat substitutes are increasingly popular, but the consumption of meat remains persistently high. Even in industrializing countries such as China and Brazil, where meat consumption used to be low, meat consumption is rising rapidly. To achieve real change - a transition - this trend must be reversed on a global scale.

Even more advantages

A protein transition has many additional advantages. 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 (with extensive meat production) 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.

Rianne Lindhout | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>