Department of Grain Science and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, U.S.A.
Humanity is facing one of its greatest challenges as it contends with sustaining its global agricultural systems and environment and feeding more than 9 billion people by 2050. The world’s growing population and its increasing demand for meat will continue to compete for limited land, water, and energy resources, such that conventional meat, alone, will not be able to fulfill the commensurately growing protein demands: The future population cannot be adequately fed. Plant-based meat, though, is a more sustainable food product, and it could feed a considerably larger population. Unlike its conventional meat counterpart, the per-unit production of plant-based meat requires substantially less agricultural land and water, emits less greenhouse gas, and produces less aquatic nutrient pollution. Some technological, sensory, and nutritional issues need to be addressed, both to stimulate the shift of consumers toward plant-based meat diets and to accelerate the growth of the plant-based meat market.