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Meat alternatives are attracting private investment and interest from the research community as possible solutions to meet the growing global demand for proteins in a sustainable, ethical and healthy way. Using a food systems lens, this report investigates the opportunities and challenges associated with three meat alternatives: plant-based, insects and cultured meat. The analysis is based primarily on a literature review, which is complemented by an illustrative scenario using the OECD-FAO Aglink-Cosimo model.
Results from the scenario analysis suggest that a shift from meat to meat alternatives in high and upper middle-income countries could result in a decline in global agricultural land use and GHG emissions from the agriculture, forestry, and other land use sector. Lower demand for meats in these countries would also lead to a decrease in international prices for meats, soybean and cereals, which would benefit consumers, but place pressure on farmer incomes.
Clear regulation and labelling of meat alternatives will be key to ensuring these new foods and ingredients are safe and thus increase consumer confidence.