A new study launched by Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that swapping resource-intensive animal products, including beef, chicken and eggs, for plant-based foods, could help feed 1900 per cent more consumers.
The website states: “Replacing all animal-based items with plant-based replacement diets can add enough food to feed 350 million additional people, more than the expected benefits of eliminating all supply chain food loss.” It continues: “These results highlight the importance of dietary shifts to improving food availability and security.”
As the number of people living on Earth is increasing, the demand of food will also rise, which will put stain on natural resources, contributing to deforestation, global warming, and other issues damaging our environment. By 2050, the Earth is predicted to be home to approximately 9.8 billion people.
The study uses the phrase ‘opportunity food loss’, which is defined as: “consuming resource-intensive animal-based items instead of plant-based alternatives which are nutritionally comparable, e.g., in terms of protein content.”
Opportunity food loss is higher in animals than in plants. Beef has the highest opportunity food loss, at 96 per cent, followed by pork at 90 per cent, dairy at 75 per cent, poultry at 50 per cent, and finally, eggs at 40 per cent, respectively. This data means that the area of land required to produce 100g of plant-based protein proceeds to 4g of beef, 25g of dairy, 50g poultry and 60g of eggs.
If more consumers swapped to a plant-based diet, the plant would be able to produce more food in a sustainable way. It will also help reduce the effects of major issues, such as water loss, extinction of species and desertification.