Today is Alternative Protein Day in Switzerland. Do we need this day in Germany too?
In 2022, Alternative Protein Day was launched for the first time by the Swiss Protein Association1 . No wonder, because with the current dynamics of trends on the market for alternative proteins, peas, mushrooms, lentils, oats and co are literally on everyone’s lips. Among other things, corsus deals with greenhouse gas emissions, water and land consumption of alternative protein sources in comparison to conventional animal products.
We are experiencing the nutritional turnaround at first hand: in the café, in the restaurant or in the supermarket. The range of substitute products for meat, milk, egg, cheese or fish is becoming ever wider. According to the Environmental Awareness Study 2022, 11% of respondents in Germany live vegetarian and 2% vegan, especially women2. Many companies are actively shaping the change, the product range is being expanded, recipes are being changed. Germany is Europe’s top-selling market for plant-based substitutes with around €1.91 billion in sales. On average, every German spent about 23 euros a year on vegetarian alternative products. The market for alternative products continues to grow at double-digit rates. Billions are being invested in research and development in in-vitro meat worldwide3.
But are these developments beneficial for the environment and society?
Since December 2022, corsus has been working on this issue in the project “Integrated assessment of the sustainability of alternative protein sources and analogues and transformation pathways of two selected alternatives“, or “AltProt” for short, which was commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency. The aim is to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the most important alternative protein sources in the dimensions of environment, animal welfare and society. This mainly includes plant proteins (e.g. legumes, algae, cereals), but also insect proteins, microbial proteins from bacteria or fungi and proteins from cellular agriculture. “The special thing about this project is that we are looking on the one hand at how likely it is that certain products and raw materials will be able to establish themselves in the long term in the future, but also at how desirable these developments are for society, health, animal welfare and for the environment,” explains Julian Quandt, project manager of the project and senior consultant at corsus.
Together with the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL) from Quakenbrück and the Institute for Social Innovation (ISIconsult) from Berlin, corsus is compiling an overview of processes, raw materials and products in the context of alternative protein sources and analogues and is conducting a sustainability assessment of selected protein sources and substitutes. The results are published in a condensed, accessible, easy-to-understand and freely available technical brochure. In this way, we at corsus are actively shaping the nutritional turnaround.
3 GFI Europe, 2023