How will people feed themselves in the future? According to a new study, “alternative proteins” could become more important – with consequences for global CO2 emissions.

Plant-based meat substitutes and other “alternative proteins” are gaining importance in the food market, according to a new study.

In an international consumer survey by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in seven countries, two-thirds said they had tried alternative proteins, BCG and the investment company involved in the study, Blue Horizon, announced on Friday.

Over three-quarters said they think meat substitutes are healthier than animal proteins. However, the price plays a decisive role: obviously soy products and other plant-based protein sources should not be more expensive than meat. The average accepted price range, according to BCG, is 50 to 90 percent of the animal-based original.

3,700 consumers in the USA, China, the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain, France, Spain and Germany were surveyed. In Germany, 515 people took part.

Soy, Peas, Beans

The generic term “alternative” includes proteins of different origins that have in common that they do not come from meat. The best known are substitutes for meat, milk and eggs made from soy, legumes such as peas and beans or other plants. This also includes proteins based on fungi, microorganisms or insects.

The study points to estimates that livestock farming is responsible for around 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The authors predict that the consumption of alternative proteins will increase rapidly and could account for 11 percent of the protein consumed by the world population by 2035.

According to calculations by the two companies, this in turn could reduce CO2 emissions from agriculture by almost one gigatonne. According to data from the International Energy Agency IEA, global CO2 emissions in 2021 were 36.3 gigatonnes.