By Rebecca Libauskas
Investments in meat made from plants have a more profound impact on the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions than other green initiatives, according to a recent report from the Boston Consulting Group.
The report found that investing in the production of vegan meat and dairy reduces greenhouse-gas emissions three times more per dollar then investing in eco-friendly cement technology, seven times more than in green buildings and 11 times more than in emission-free vehicles.
As consumers, we can “invest” every time we go grocery shopping, as well as urging lawmakers to use our tax dollars to develop and expand vegan food production. Doing so will not only help mitigate the climate catastrophe but also prevent animals from suffering on factory farms.
But let’s not delay: A recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report says the effects of the changing climate are worse than experts initially thought, and they advise that we take immediate action. The good news is that interest in vegan food is skyrocketing — even meat-eaters are filling their plates with animal-free cuisine.
According to Bloomberg, the market for vegan foods will reach $162 billion by 2030. And the investment bank Credit Suisse expects the vegan food industry to grow to $1.4 trillion by 2050. The search term “vegan food near me” increased by 5,000% in 2021 and was categorized as a “breakout search” by Google. But more than just searching, people are opening their wallets at the grocery store.
So who is driving this shift toward planet-friendly food? Here’s a hint: Avocado toast is vegan. Zoomers (members of Gen Z) and millennials drive the demand for vegan food because they tend to value health, mitigating the climate catastrophe, and ethics. Nearly 90% of zoomers, for example, are worried about the environment, and 41% feel that the changing climate is the planet’s most important issue. Millennials are also more health-conscious than the generations that raised them and more likely to seek out nutritious vegan food. Young people also care more about animals — some even choose to adopt animal companions rather than starting a human family.
Imagine a world in which we don’t exploit animals for food. …
The science is getting close, and clean meat, dairy and egg innovations are being developed. One company is producing dairy protein through fermentation, eliminating the need for cows. Another makes cultivated meat from animal cells, creating cruelty-free chicken breasts and beef. The facility is the largest cultivated meat factory in the world, and the company intends for its products to be available for purchase sometime this year.
A comparison study shows that by 2030 — when large-scale commercial production of lab-grown meat may be possible — pound for pound, lab-grown meat could potentially contribute 92% less in greenhouse gases and use 95% less land and 78% less water than conventional beef.
But we don’t have to wait for new products to hit supermarket shelves. Many grocery stores, restaurants and fast-food establishments carry meatless and dairy-free options. There is even a new vegan hard-boiled egg that looks and tastes like the real deal.
Our current food system is hungry for change, so let’s feed it — by going vegan.