This release is available in German.
In emerging countries such as China or Brazil, meat consumption is rising dramatically. Indeed, worldwide consumption of red meat has quadrupled since 1961. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) expects increasing prosperity to lead to a doubling of global meat production by the year 2050. The question is whether our planet, with its limited farmland resources, will still be able to meet all of our needs into the future. Possible solutions for the brewing dilemma are familiar to Dr.-Ing. Peter Eisner of the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Freising, Germany.
It takes a lot of land to produce meat. "Producing a kilogram of meat consumes between seven and 16 kilograms of grain or soybeans as animal feed," Eisner reports. "As a result, in the US around 80 percent of grain is fed to livestock." Compared to meat production, the cultivation of plants as a food source is considerably less land-intensive. It takes 40 square meters to produce a kilogram of meat, yet that same space could produce 120 kilograms of carrots or 80 kilograms of apples instead. As the researcher points out: "Plants are a source of high-quality foodstuffs, but they can also provide raw materials for technological applications and are a source of energy." He demonstrates this in the case of sunflower seeds: up until now, they were used for oil production, their residues serving as low-grade livestock feed. As a result, a 2 -acre parcel of land could be expected to yield around 950 euros. If all of the components were processed and converted to high-quality raw materials for the food, cosmetics and fuel industry, that same parcel would generate some 1770 euros in income.
Plant-based food ingredients can be expected to play a particularly important role as a substitute for raw mate
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