According to the report, the meat industry is not sustainable

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According to the report, the meat industry is not sustainable

Dive short:

  • Meat production is not sustainable at its current level, according to a new IDTechEx study. According to the report, feeding the world’s population by 2050, which is expected to reach $ 10 billion, will require a 70% increase in global food production, which will be harmful to the environment.
  • The report notes that while meat production is increasing by 2 to 3% per year, it is not an effective method of producing calories. Animals account for 17% of global calorie intake, while plant-based foods account for 83% of global calorie intake. Only 33% of global protein intake comes from meat and dairy products.
  • Meat production is a major contributor to increased greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, soil degradation, water scarcity and coastal “dead zones”, the report said.

Dive Insight:

While this is not the first time that some studies have called for increased plant consumption and reduced meat consumption to improve the environment, the IDTechEX report points out that it can also be an unsustainable source of protein to feed the world’s expected population.

Already 77% of the world’s agricultural land is used for animal husbandry, but only 33% of global protein intake comes from meat and dairy products. And the mathematics that animal husbandry needs to feed another two billion people in 30 years is not promising. The EAT-Lancet study assumed that in order to successfully feed the growing population of the planet, the trend in meat production must be reversed, reducing the consumption of red meat, sugar and refined cereals to less than half that of vegetable raw materials. more than twice as much.

The IDTechEx report proposes a major shift in vegetable and farmed meat. However, it should be borne in mind that the technology solution should be supported by an independent market research firm, as the report was prepared by one of the analysts specializing in agricultural technology and next generation food technology.

The research joins a number of other companies that analyze the environmental impact of meat production. A 2018 study published in Science concluded that livestock farming is responsible for a number of global environmental problems, and avoiding consuming animal products would not only be about purchasing sustainable meat and dairy products. Some consumers switched. In the United States, retail sales of plant-based foods grew 11.4% last year to a total market value of $ 5 billion, while dollar sales rose 29% over the past two years.

Companies producing animal products are looking for a sustainable way to keep them in the household. In a global industry worth more than $ 2 trillion and having a US GDP of about Representing 5.6%, meat and dairy farmers are turning to plant-based options to complement their portfolio and prevent plant-based startups from losing market share. Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Cargill and JBS have all been introducing plant-based products in recent years, with the aim of getting customers to own their own brands.

These products are likely to be a test of how dramatically these companies are transforming their portfolios towards plant-based options. Offering these alternatives can prove to be a profitable decision. About two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands, and according to Nielsen, this is even higher than millennia (73%) and generation Z (72%).

However, the meat industry is not only approaching sustainability with a plant-based approach. Due to continued publicity and pressure on the sustainability of animal products, the board of directors of the North American Meat Institute unanimously agreed to encourage companies to share sustainability practices by making the environmental impacts of meat and poultry farming uncompetitive among members.

Another proposed solution could be to remove state subsidies from meat production. According to the IDTechEX report, the United States and E.U. about $ 38 billion a year is spent on subsidies to the industry, which drastically and artificially reduces the cost of animal protein. Removing this government subsidy would raise the price of animal meat, perhaps in parity or with plant-based alternatives. This solution, though unlikely to materialize, would offer consumers a more level playing field in their choice of animal, plant and potentially farmed options without adding money to the equation.