The world’s growing appetite for plant-based foods has saved the lives of nearly a million animals over the past year.
According to the non-profit animal welfare organization World Animal Protection (WAP), North American food companies Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have spared 630,000 from the slaughterhouse throughout the United States. Both companies now have a presence in several leading restaurant chains, including Panda Express, Burger King, and KFC which formally rolled out its plant-based line (created in tandem with Beyond Meat) last January 10th.
However, WAP itself was quick to add that their report does not cover the entirety of the plant-based foods industry. While it does include a number of well-known restaurant chains and stand-alone restaurants, it does not feature figures for plant-based products sold at supermarkets and grocery stores, specialty vegan or vegetarian items created in-house by resident chefs, or even egg and dairy substitutes.
In late 2021, it was noted that around 49% of Americans have expressed an interest in replacing meat and conventional dairy products with more sustainably-produced and nutritionally-comparable plant-based substitutes.
Nevertheless, there is still a great deal to be done with regard to bringing plant-based foods into the culinary mainstream. While nearly 80,000 cows were spared over the past year thanks to plant-based products, statistics show a sobering picture of the meat-production industry. Every year, around 120 million pigs, 30 million cows, and several billion chickens (pullets and layers, alike) are slaughtered and processed for human consumption.
Rethinking Eggs and Dairy
According to another report, this time issued by plant-based egg substitutes company Zero Egg, there was a notable surplus of unused or uneaten eggs in the US in 2020, just over a million in total.
For company communications and marketing director Joe Loria, this doesn’t just mark a change in American eating habits, but it also reflects the increased drive for more sustainable methods of food production.
Zero Egg products use 93% less water and 92% less land compared to the production of ordinary eggs through livestock. The production method used also results in 59% less greenhouse gasses expelled into the atmosphere.
Loria went on to say that Zero Egg’s long-term vision is to usher in a new age of sustainability in food production. While the company may not exactly save the planet or have greater impact in terms of animal welfare, it is still doing their part to help conserve natural resources and improve modern lifestyles through its products.