Meat alternatives more climate-friendlier than meat, study finds
Dec 26, 2011, 3:06 GMT
Vienna - Production of meat alternatives such as soy meat, tofu and seitan causes about 95 per cent lower emissions of climate-damaging gases than production of ground meat, according to a recent study by the Sustainable European Research Institute (SERI), a Vienna-based think tank.
Commissioned by the German Vegetarian Society (VEBU) and the Austrian branch of the international environmental activist network Greenpeace, the study found that producing one kilogram of soy meat released about 350 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere compared with about 7,200 grams from the same amount of ground meat.
The heat-trapping greenhouse gas CO2 contributes to global warming. Large amounts of it are released, for example, when forests are cleared to provide pastureland and grow crops for animals raised to provide meat.
On average, VEBU said, 98 per cent less land is needed to produce meat alternatives.
In the study, SERI examined the environmental impact of eight food products made either from soy granulate or seitan - also known as wheat gluten - and then compared it with that of ground meat. The factors that were considered included water consumption, transport and the use of both renewable and non-renewable resources.
VEB Managing Director Sebastian Zoesch said that ground meat was especially easy to substitute with plant-based alternatives because it would be nearly impossible for those eating it to tell by the texture of such small pieces that they were not chewing real meat.