A protein transition target for a sustainable food supply

Eating animal products contributes significantly to a range of environmental problems, including climate change. A shift towards a more vegetarian diet is therefore a major force for good as well as being healthier, as borne out by the guidelines and recommendations of organisations like the Dutch Food Centre. Particularly in the Netherlands there are major gains to be made, as the share of plant-based protein in overall protein consumption is relatively low here: 33% compared with 42% and 40%, respectively, in neighbouring Belgium and Germany.

To get a better grip on the protein transition, we need an indicator to show how we are progressing. This could be used by supermarkets, for example, to elaborate company policy and consumer outreach, or by NGOs to hold supermarkets and other players to account on the part they are playing, or by government agencies to monitor and incentivise the transition.

In this study, carried out for the Netherlands Society for Nature and Environment (Natuur & Milieu), CE Delft explored a number of potential protein-transition indicators and tried them out on ‘Tomorrow’s Menu’. This menu takes us from a protein transition score of 33% (current diets) to 48% in 2030 and 65% in 2050.

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