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.

18 February 2020

The University of Oxford’s Livestock, Environment and People project has published a new series of blog posts exploring controversies in the food system. The series aims to explore and clarify areas where evidence is unclear.

10 February 2020

This report from environmental campaign group Greenpeace UK examines how chicken consumption in the UK is linked to deforestation, through production of soy for animal feed. It sets out the “soya footprint” of supermarkets, fast food outlets and manufacturers, although figures are not available in all cases.

10 February 2020

This report from NGO Friends of the Earth Europe examines how European demand for beef, soy (as animal feed) and palm oil is linked to deforestation in the Global South. It outlines the limitations of sustainability certification schemes, and makes policy proposals that focus on food sovereignty.

Image: Angie Six, Quorn Chick-n Nuggets, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
20 January 2020

This paper reviews the ingredients and nutrient contents of several plant-based meat alternatives (made from soy, other legumes, mycoprotein and cereals) and compares them to traditional meat products. It finds that no broad conclusions can be drawn about whether meat analogues or traditional meat products are healthier, with their composition varying between products.

2 December 2019

The FCRN’s Tara Garnett appeared on The Food Programme by BBC Radio 4 in the episode “Eating Animals Part 2: A Meat Q&A”. The programme also featured Patrick Holden of The Sustainable Food Trust and writer and environmental campaigner George Monbiot.

2 December 2019

According to a survey by UK NGO Eating Better, 63% of 11 to 18 year olds in the UK see the environment and climate change as the top concern for the UK at the moment. While most do not want to change their levels of meat consumption, 29% of those who do eat meat would like to reduce their consumption.

25 November 2019

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food consortium has recently launched a podcast series, The Food Fight, which examines the biggest challenges facing the food system, and the innovations and entrepreneurs looking to solve them.

19 November 2019

Will Nicholson of the FCRN has contributed to this report on the future of protein by Forum for the Future. The report asks whether the food industry is taking sufficient action on providing sustainable, healthy protein.

11 November 2019

The European Livestock and Meat Trades Union has published a standardised methodology to calculate and mitigate the environmental impacts of beef, pork and lamb. The guidelines have been designed to allow individual companies to identify “hotspots” of environmental impacts within their own supply chains.

Image: Ella Olsson, Hummus Dip, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
4 November 2019

This feature from the Guardian newspaper explores why veganism attracts hostility from some commenters. The piece suggests that opposition to veganism can be driven by concerns about malnutrition and fear of loss of personal freedom, and may also be linked to certain ideas about traditional gender roles.

4 November 2019

This book addresses sustainability problems in modern animal agriculture and proposes solutions on topics such as biotechnology, feed production techniques and disease management.

22 October 2019

This book questions whether the rising demand for meat is indeed driven mainly by wealth and argues that the consumption of cheap meat is linked to economic insecurity. It also questions the view that the modern human brain evolved because of the consumption of meat.

22 October 2019

This report by US think tank ReThinkX examines the implications of ongoing disruptions to livestock industries. It predicts that current livestock production will be replaced to a large extent by a “Food-as-Software” model, where food can be engineered on the molecular level and produced using “precision fermentation”, e.g. using engineered microorganisms to produce proteins that mimic milk proteins. 

Image: Marco Verch, Menu in the canteen consisting of mixed salad with carrots, cucumber, rocket, beetroot, feta cheese and egg, with a wholemeal and tea, arranged with cutlery on a beige tray, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
8 October 2019

This paper by FCRN member Emma Garnett finds that doubling the availability of vegetarian lunchtime meal options (from one-in-four to two-in-four) in university cafeterias increases vegetarian sales by 40-80%, with little change to overall sales and no detectable rebound effects (such as lower vegetarian meal sales at other meal times such as evening meals). 

2 October 2019

Five cellular agriculture startups have launched a new organisation, The Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation (AMPS Innovation). The coalition aims to work with regulators in the United States as they develop regulations for cellular agriculture products, as well as raise wider awareness of the industry.

2 October 2019

An audio recording of the 2019 Mansholt Lecture, organised by Wageningen University & Research, is available. The lecture, which took place on 18 September 2019, discussed the challenges of future protein production and consumption, including protein from plants, animals and microorganisms.

2 October 2019

This report from food campaign group Feedback ranks ten UK supermarkets on their efforts to cut the negative impacts of the meat that they sell and encourage their customers to switch to “less and better” meat. 

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