Eating plant-based meals is choosing sustainability
An Environmental Article from

November 2018

​It’s the scientific consensus that one effective action anyone can take to combat climate change is to avoid eating meat and to eat plant-based meals instead.

agricultural usage

Climate change is wreaking havoc and affecting our everyday lives. Our planet is contending with intensified droughts, wildfires, rainfall, and all the ramifications that they bring. To take sustainable action, scientists tell us, avoid meat and eat a plant-based meal.

Last week, scientists from 13 federal agencies issued a National Climate Assessment which outlines how global warming and extreme weather will continue to wreak havoc, not just on our planet and our ecosystem, but on our standard of living and our health.

Environmental groups, scientific consortiums, and UN agencies are all pointing to animal agriculture and meat production as a primary factor that contributes to climate change. Meat production results in enormous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water consumption, and non-renewable energy usage.

It’s the scientific consensus that one effective action anyone can take to combat climate change is to avoid eating meat and to eat plant-based meals instead.

The University of Michigan Center of Sustainable Systems issued a report in September with a lifecycle study comparing the production of a plant-based Beyond Burger with a traditional ╝lb US beef burger. The results?

Compared to a traditional beef burger, the Beyond Burger uses:

  • 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions
  • 46% less non-renewable energy sources
  • 93% less land
  • and 99% less water

It’s no wonder that in October, 2018, the United Nations Environmental Programme declared meat as “the world’s most urgent problem,” and named two plant-based meat companies, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, as recipients of their annual Champions of the Earth award.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNIPC), the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and many other environmental organizations have been highlighting plant-based diets as an important part of their sustainability programs for years. In fact, UNIPC’s latest report, released on October 8, 2018, once again calls on everyone to eat less meat.

The good news: plant-based food sales are spiking every year.

There is an amazing variety of plant-based food choices to whet the palate and satisfy the appetite. An increasing number of people are choosing to eat this way, especially younger generations who are driving the demand. These generations (Millennials and Generation Z) are also choosing brands based on their core values, and sustainability is at the top of their list. Many plant-based meat brands are providing data related to sustainability right on their websites for this very reason.

The WorldMeatFreeWeek website has a calculator that tells you what you’re saving by going meat-free for a meal. Among the calculations for one person choosing one meat-free meal: the saving of “the equivalent of 8 days of water of personal use.”

A 2017 research study from Credit Suisse stated that “sustainability is a key concern for the Millennial generation” and emphasized that “companies have to adapt processes and production practices to make their products sustainable and seize the opportunities this rapidly growing generation of consumers creates.”

Sustainability and healthier foods also emerged as key values in recent studies of Generation Z by Unidays and the NPD Group. Sustainability was referenced as “top of mind” for Generation Z with 41% saying they’d pay a premium for healthier food.

What’s not to like about eating a really tasty plant-based meal that benefits your health and the environment?

There are many wonderful options available now. This goes for menu items in large mainstream venues, too. VeggieHappy is working closely with our sports venue partners to highlight the plant-based menu items that they offer, and to provide a dedicated channel to help you find them.

As we like to say, offering plant-based food options is a win/win/win for venues (and others alike): they benefit from the growing market of interested consumers, they increase their brand value among a younger demographic of fans, and they take sustainable action by doing so.

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