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Could plant-based foods be tipping point for food and climate security?

A report entitled, Accelerating the 10 Critical Transitions: Positive Tipping Points for Food and Land Use Systems Transformation has just been launched and it’s contention is that widespread acceptance of alternative proteins such as plant-based meat substitutes could resolve a lot of the world’s present problems.

The report, produced by the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU), SYSTEMIQ and the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter, says a plant-based consumption tipping point could tip the scales in accelerating decarbonisation and improving food security while creating more inclusive and resilient rural economies.

Momentum behind flexitarian diet

As it stands, the rapid increase in consumption of plant-based alternatives to meat is not being matched by reduction in meat consumption, but the authors believe the tipping point scenario is plausible. The evidence lies in demographics.

25% of Europeans now consider themselves flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan and if their numbers continue to rise, intense livestock production could go into decline. As a result, the researchers conclude, farmers would then focus on less intensive practices that help protect and restore nature.

The optimism behind the science is justified. In terms of the evolution of the food industry, arguably we are only in the foothills of what is achievable for plant-based food options.

As innovators continue to improve taste and nutritional content, products become more affordable and social acceptance grows, it seems likely that ever more health-conscious consumers will tilt into the majority.

The future of plant-based foods

The global shift towards plant-based proteins offers a promising avenue for addressing climate change and enhancing food security, while also fostering the development of resilient and inclusive rural economies. However, such a major shift in diets can have ramifications across the entire agrifood industry, not least of all the livestock, dairy, and poultry industries.

At Farrelly Mitchell, we help our clients understand and navigate the agrifood landscape. With the support of our market intelligence and risk analysis teams, we can provide clarity to complex market forces and help our clients position themselves to capture opportunities and mitigate risks.


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