Giving Compass’ Take:
• Recent surveys indicate that younger generations are starting to embrace plant-based products and eat them more frequently than their older counterparts.
•Why would plant-based products appeal to the younger generations?
• Learn more about why these plant-based foods are more than just a fad.
By 2050, many scientists estimate that the world food supply will have to increase sharply from today’s level to meet anticipated demand from a global population of 9 billion to 10 billion people. Meanwhile, the coming decades are expected to bring higher and more variable temperatures, increasingly severe droughts, floods and storms, and conditions that will make achieving food security more complicated and uncertain than ever before.
Emerging biotechnologies are opening new niches in the food landscape that can help feed the world’s burgeoning population with fewer resources in more extreme and unpredictable environments. With debate over the impacts of meat production intensifying, we have been tracking U.S. attitudes related to plant-based alternatives through Michigan State University’s Food Literacy and Engagement Poll.
The results reveal a growing appetite for plant-based meat among consumers, especially millennials and Generation Z.
Many scientists and advocates recommend eating less meat as a way to make modern lifestyles healthier and more sustainable (PDF). Most recently, the widely publicized EAT-Lancet Report, produced by an international team of health, agriculture and sustainability experts, recommended consuming less than half an ounce of red meat per day.
Americans are among the world’s top meat consumers. The World Economic Forum estimates that in 2016 Americans ate an average of 214 pounds of meat per person. By contrast, Argentinians averaged 190 pounds and Europeans averaged 152.5 pounds per person.
Rising concern about climate change has spurred a flurry of Silicon Valley biotech startups focused on plant-based alternative meats. Although veggie burgers and vegetarian “meats” frequently comprised of soy, beans and lentils have been around for decades, this new generation of products has the sustainability benefits of being made entirely of veggies, but taste ever more convincingly like meat.
With these products gaining wide media coverage, it’s no surprise that the latest results of our biannual, nationally representative survey of over 2,100 people suggest perspectives on meat alternatives are shifting rapidly.
Read the full article about plant-based meats by Sheril Kirshenbaum and Douglas Buhler at GreenBiz.
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