Insects for animals, in-vitro, reducing meat: Taking new dietary pathways

Insects for animals, in-vitro, reducing meat: Taking new dietary pathways

Our current dietary pattern has a strong impact on the environment. Global food production releases more than 25 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, pollutes terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and uses about 40 percent of the earth’s terrestrial surface.

The majority of this environmental impact originates from the consumption of animal-source food (ASF). In Europe, daily consumption of protein from animal source food is above dietary recommendation, resulting in an increased risk of chronic non-communicable diseases, e.g. obesity and heart diseases. To strengthen food and nutrition security, the livestock sector is and will continue to be an important part of the puzzle to ensure sustainable nutrition security.

In their new paper "Innovation pathways towards future nutrition security: Innovation pathways towards more sustainable production and consumption in the livestock-fish supply chain and their uptake in the SUSFANS models", the researcher identified innovationsthat will be assessed within the SUSFANS project (D5.4).

The innovation pathway explored in this deliverable no 5.2 addresses production-side strategies, consumption-side strategies, and circular strategies. Production-side strategies focus on reducing the environmental impact per kg of animal-sourced food produced by e.g. changing composition of livestock feed.

Consumption-side strategies focus on changing consumption patterns of humans by reducing or avoiding consumption of animal-sourced food, or shifting from animal-sourced food with a higher environmental impact (e.g. beef) to food from animal source with a lower environmental impact (e.g. pork or chicken). Consumption-side strategies, therefore, have the potential to reduce the environmental impact and contribute to healthier diets.

The circular strategy will focus on improving the circularity of the food system and avoiding feed-food competition. It lies in between the production and consumption-side strategies.

For each strategy (production-, consumption-, circular strategy) innovations were identified in literature. Based on the results of a stakeholder workshop (results discussed in SUSFANS deliverable D5.1) and the literature search performed we propose to focus on the following innovations: 

  • For the production-side we propose to focus on including insects in livestock and fish feed.
  • For the consumption-side we propose to focus on existing measures, such as reducing meat intake and replacing beef with other ASF products including fish. And we propose to focus on a novel protein source preferably in-vitro meat.
  • For the circular strategy we propose a focus on using products that people do not or cannot eat as livestock feed and assess the role of livestock in a sustainable diet. Similar to this the role of captured seafood - fishing at equilibrium (sustainable yields) - in a suitable diet will be assessed as this is nutritious food that has large potential if managed for long-term sustainability.

If all innovations are assessed a pathway can be identified that leads to sustainable healthy diets.