Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Meat, eggs and alternatives

Meat, eggs and new alternatives such as soy-meat, Quorn, or lab-grown meat are foods that are often rich in protein and essential micronutrients. However they may also be high in saturated fat and, when processed, in salt. Consumption of meat is very high in most high income countries and is on the rise in middle income countries. While an overly high consumption is associated with ill-health and disease, in countries where people’s diets are lacking in diversity and essential micronutrients – as is the case in many low income countries – animal products can play an important nutritional role. Meat products are also associated with very high GHG emissions; farmed animals contribute some 14.5% of human-made GHG emissions. Animal production also contributes to many other negative environmental impacts including deforestation and associated biodiversity loss, land degradation and soil and water pollution. The production of animals for slaughter and use also raises a complex set of ethical and welfare issues.

Image credit: Tribp on Flickr, Creative commons licence
28 February 2017

Barbara Hendricks, Germany’s environment minister, has recently announced that her ministry will no longer be serving meat, fish or meat-derived products at official functions citing environmental concerns and a desire to serve as a “role model” on environmental and sustainability issues.

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Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
15 February 2017

This is a systematic review on consumer perception and behaviours in relation to meat, meat substitutes and the environment. It finds that both awareness of the environmental impact of meat consumption and a willingness to reduce meat consumption is low in the studied populations. The authors identify as a key research area the investigation of strategies that might help to motivate more moderate, sustainable meat consumption behaviour.

15 February 2017

This article in Nature Scientific Reports details a new approach for generating skeletal muscle from pigs which can be used to make skeletal muscle – the main component of pork meat – in vitro. The techniques are potentially applicable to other types of muscle, such as heart muscle tissue, as well.

8 February 2017

This report by Compassion for World Farming discusses the potential effects of a reduction in meat consumption in relation to the difference between ruminants such as cows and monogastrics such as pigs and poultry.

8 February 2017

This report outlines the main - familiar - arguments for cutting meat and dairy consumption in high-income countries in order to significantly reduce GHG emissions. It specifically focuses on larger corporations and briefly touches on governance issues.

29 November 2016

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), a global, multi-stakeholder initiative developed to advance improvement in sustainability of the global beef value chain, held a conference in October 2016. 

17 November 2016

The Eating Better Alliance has launched a new campaign about eating less meat. The alliance have worked to create a new way of talking about eating less meat, through fun and positive messages and a set of adverts to inspire a new generation of men to be more daring with their food and give vegetarian options a chance. 

18 October 2016

While insects have physiological and biological differences which make them more efficient than traditional livestock species, little information exists pertaining to the factors which influence the assessment of the environmental sustainability of insects and their subsequent production systems. 

4 October 2016

China’s premier has announced that the country will begin accepting U.S. beef from animals under 30 months of age. When speaking to U.S. business groups, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China would soon allow imports of U.S. beef.  China has conditionally lifted an import ban on some shipments of U.S. boneless beef and beef on the bone, and will also ease restrictions on Canadian beef, the Asian nation's agriculture ministry and its premier said on Thursday.

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4 October 2016

A group of investors, worth $1.25 trillion, has contributed to a report calling for food companies to change the way in which they include protein in their products to reduce environmental risk. The FAIRR initiative’s report – The Future of Food: The Investment Case for a Protein Shake Up – argues that forward-looking investors and businesses should act now to help shape a new market in sustainable protein, with less of this macronutrient coming from animals, and more from plants (and perhaps from insects and algae).

28 September 2016

In Sweden two of the largest supermarkets in the country have launched campaigns aimed at creating increased consumer awareness around the environmental impact of meat, encouraging consumers to lower their intake of meat and promoting plant-based alternatives.

20 September 2016

Meat consumption is increasing, especially in the emerging economies. The Chinese government has an increasing interest in making steps towards sustainable livestock production, and the more GHG (greenhouse gas) “efficient” pork and poultry industries have seen substantial progress towards sustainability in the recent past.

Photo: Flickr, Anders Eriksson, Creative Commons License 2.0
16 September 2016

This study explores how fear of climate change affects affluent Swedish individuals in their intentions to reduce or alter meat consumption. Noting that fear appeals form the dominant communications approach used in raising awareness about environmental issues and motivating behavioural change, the authors set out to explore the processes through which such appeals may or may not motivate consumers to change.

Photo: jai Mansson, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
6 September 2016

This letter in Global Change Biology responds to a paper published earlier in the year in Nature Climate Change by de Silva et al (summarised by the FCRN here) which concludes that a combination of strict land controls and an increase in beef production in the Amazon could lead to greater emissions reduction than a scenario of land control and no beef production increases.

Photo: Peter O’Connor, Cattle Herd, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
31 August 2016

This report commissioned by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and written by its High Level Panel of Experts for Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) focuses on sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition, specifically in relation to livestock.

23 August 2016

This books provides a first reference on dietary proteins that covers the land, water, and energy usage inputs, nutritive outputs, and food applications of plant and other non-meat proteins.

Photo: Stephen Luke, farm, Flickr, creative commons licence 2.0
16 August 2016

One Dutch animal rights NGO and a growing public antipathy to the extremes of industrial animal farming have caused several major supermarkets in the Netherlands to stop selling meat from fast-growing chickens.

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