Plant-based Alternatives: 5 Ways They Benefit the Planet
Over the past decade, people have become increasingly interested in plant-based diets. In fact, there has been a 600% increase in people turning vegan in the U.S. since 2014.
Because of this, the plant-based foods market could make up roughly 7.7% of the global protein market by 2030, with a value of over $162 billion, up from $29.4 billion in 2020.
Although initially promoted for their gambit of health benefits, recent studies have shown that switching to a plant-based diet has a list of environmental benefits too.
The following infographic by Billy Goat Brands (CSE: GOAT) (“GOAT”) explores the environmental impacts of conventional meat production and how plant-based alternatives can lessen this impact and be a viable dietary solution for the future.
Environmental Benefits of Plant-based Alternatives
Increased population growth has caused meat production to increase exponentially. The livestock sector is one of the most significant contributors to urgent environmental problems. Conventional meat production is responsible for 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases.
Water, land, and ocean conservation have become a major concern for livestock breeding and meat production. It also causes a loss of soil nutrients, leaving land unusable in the future.
Here are five ways in which the production of plant-based alternatives benefit the environment:
- Climate Change: The production of plant-based meats causes very low greenhouse gas emissions and can in fact reduce emissions caused by conventional meat production by 70%.
- Land Conservation: Switching to a plant-based diet could also reduce global agricultural land use from 4 to 1 billion hectares.
- Water Conservation: A plant-based diet can reduce water consumption by up to 50%, saving 14 trillion gallons of water annually.
- Cleaner Water: Creating plant-based alternatives does not require excessive spraying of chemicals and pesticides, reducing aquatic nutrient pollution.
- Ocean Conservation: Consumption of plant-based imitation fish can stop the practice of overfishing that has caused oceanic dead zones across the world.
Plant-based alternatives offer a solution to these problems. They produce minimal greenhouse gases and require a fraction of the cropland and water needed for conventional meat production.
Health Benefits of Consuming Plant-based Alternatives
Plant-based diets are considered to be naturally nutritious and healthy. For years, registered dietitians and food scientists have touted the perks of eating plants and cutting back on meat.
Here are some amazing benefits of choosing a plant-based diet:
Lower Your Blood Pressure
Several studies have shown that sticking with a plant-based diet can reduce blood pressure, reducing your risk of further health complications. A recent study also found that vegetarians had a 34% lower risk of developing hypertension than those who consume meat.
Prevent Type-2 Diabetes
Our diet and diseases like type 2 diabetes have had a long-standing link. Plant-based diets, especially when rich in high-quality plant foods, are associated with a substantially lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes by over 30%.
Provide Healthy Body BMI
Studies have shown that the mean BMI for vegans was 23.6, while for nonvegetarians, it was 28.8, which qualifies as overweight. The various fibers and antioxidants in plant-based foods reduce fatty lipids in the body and promote a healthy BMI.
Decrease Your Risk of Cancer
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR ), the best way to source cancer-protective nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, is to eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and some animal foods.
Improve Brain Capacity
There is veritable proof that a plant-based diet may improve the cognitive functions of your body. In some rare cases, it is linked to enhancing impairments in Alzheimer’s patients and reducing the risk of dementia.
Most Popular Plant-based Alternatives
There are a variety of plant-based alternatives that are available for consumption in the market today. Meat and milk alternatives are the most popular types of current plant-based alternatives available. Many popular fast-food chains have now adopted using plant-based meats in their menus.
Similarly, in order to combat the extreme exploitation of fisheries worldwide, efforts are being made to create plant-based seafood alternatives for consumption.
Learn more about investing in the ocean economy with GOAT by clicking here now.
The Road to Decarbonization: How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet
The U.S. alone generates ∼12 million tons of asphalt shingles tear-off waste and installation scrap every year and more than 90% of it is dumped into landfills.
The Road to Decarbonization: How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet
Asphalt, also known as bitumen, has various applications in the modern economy, with annual demand reaching 110 million tons globally.
Until the 20th century, natural asphalt made from decomposed plants accounted for the majority of asphalt production. Today, most asphalt is refined from crude oil.
This graphic, sponsored by Northstar Clean Technologies, shows how new technologies to reuse and recycle asphalt can help protect the environment.
The Impact of Climate Change
Pollution from vehicles is expected to decline as electric vehicles replace internal combustion engines.
But pollution from asphalt could actually increase in the next decades because of rising temperatures in some parts of the Earth. When subjected to extreme temperatures, asphalt releases harmful greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.
|Emissions from Road Construction (Source)||CO2 equivalent (%)|
|Excavators and Haulers||16%|
Asphalt paved surfaces and roofs make up approximately 45% and 20% of surfaces in U.S. cities, respectively. Furthermore, 75% of single-family detached homes in Canada and the U.S. have asphalt shingles on their roofs.
Reducing the Environmental Impact of Asphalt
Similar to roads, asphalt shingles have oil as the primary component, which is especially harmful to the environment.
Shingles do not decompose or biodegrade. The U.S. alone generates ∼12 million tons of asphalt shingles tear-off waste and installation scrap every year and more than 90% of it is dumped into landfills, the equivalent of 20 million barrels of oil.
But most of it can be reused, rather than taking up valuable landfill space.
Using technology, the primary components in shingles can be repurposed into liquid asphalt, aggregate, and fiber, for use in road construction, embankments, and new shingles.
Providing the construction industry with clean, sustainable processing solutions is also a big business opportunity. Canada alone is a $1.3 billion market for recovering and reprocessing shingles.
Northstar Clean Technologies is the only public company that repurposes 99% of asphalt shingles components that otherwise go to landfills.
A Visual Guide to the Science Behind Cultured Meat
Cultured meat could become a $25 billion market by 2030, but investment into the technologies that underpin the industry is required.
A Visual Guide to the Science Behind Cultured Meat
Cultured foods—also known as cell-based foods—are expected to turn our global food system as we know it on its head.
In fact, the cultured meat market is estimated to reach an eye-watering $25 billion by 2030 according to McKinsey, but only if it can overcome hurdles such as price parity and consumer acceptance. To do so, significant innovation in the science behind these products will be crucial for the industry’s growth.
What is Cultured Meat?
To start, cultured meat is defined as a genuine animal meat product that is created by cultivating animal cells in a controlled lab environment—eliminating the need to farm animals for food almost entirely.
“Cultured meat has all the same fat, muscles, and tendons as any animal…All this can be done with little or no greenhouse gas emissions, aside from the electricity you need to power the land where the process is done.”
Because cultured meat is made of the same cell types and structure found in animal tissue, the sensory and nutritional profiles are like-for-like. Let’s dive into how these products are made.
The Science and Technology Behind Cultured Meat
The main challenge facing the cultured meat market is producing products at scale. But thanks to the vast amount of research in the stem cell biology space, the science behind cultured foods is not entirely new.
Given that we are in the very early days of applying these learnings to producing food products, those looking to invest in companies contributing to the industry’s growth stand to benefit. Here is an overview of some of the technologies that underpin the industry that you should know:
1. Bioprocess Design
This is the process of using living cells and their components to create new products. According to experts like the Good Food Institute, bioprocess design holds the key to unlocking cultured meat production at scale.
Specifically, innovation in bioreactor (where the cells grow) design represents a massive opportunity for companies and investors alike.
2. Tissue Engineering
Tissue engineering techniques are used to produce cultured meat that resembles real meat textures and flavors. The first step is taking tissue from the animal for the purpose of extracting stem cells and creating cell lines.
The extracted stem cell lines are then cultivated in a nutrient rich environment, mimicking in-animal tissue growth and producing muscle fibers inside a bioreactor. The muscle fibers are processed and mixed with additional fats and ingredients to assemble the finished meat product.
3. Cell Lines
Cell lines refer to the different types of cells that can be propagated repeatedly and sometimes indefinitely.
Access to cell lines is a major challenge facing the industry today and is an area that requires significantly more research. This is because there is not just one cell type that can be used in cellular agriculture to produce cultured food products.
4. Cell Culture Media
Cells (or cell cultures) require very specific environmental conditions. Cell culture media is a gel or liquid that contains the nutrients needed to support growth outside of the body.
More research in this space is needed to determine optimized formulations and make these products more affordable.
Scaffolds are 3D cell culture platforms that mimic the structure of complex biological tissues, such as skeletal muscle. This platforms can be created through the use of 3D Bioprinting.
Scaffolds are predominantly made up of collagen and gelatin. The problem is these are both animal-derived ingredients which defeats the purpose of cell-based products. Therefore, more sustainable plant-derived options are also being explored.
Investing in the Future of Cultured Meat
CULT Food Science is an innovative investment platform advancing the technology behind the future of food with an exclusive focus on cultured meat, cultured dairy, and cell-based foods.
The company’s global portfolio spans four continents and includes exposure to a diverse pipeline:
- Cell lines
- End products
- Scaffolding technology
- Growth medium
- Intellectual property
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