There are increasingly strong reasons to move away from industrial animal agriculture for the good of the environment, animals, our personal health, and public health. Plant-based animal product alternatives (PB-APAs) represent a highly feasible way to reduce animal product consumption, since they address the core consumer decision drivers of taste, price, and convenience. PB-APAs tend to displace demand for animal products, not other plant foods, and are more able to do this compared to whole plant foods alone. This paper reviews 43 studies on the healthiness and environmental sustainability of PB-APAs compared to animal products. In terms of environmental sustainability, PB-APAs are more sustainable compared to animal products across a range of outcomes including greenhouse gas emissions, water use, land use, and other outcomes. In terms of healthiness, PB-APAs present a number of benefits, including generally favourable nutritional profiles, aiding weight loss and muscle synthesis, and catering to specific health conditions. Moreover, several studies present ways in which PB-APAs can further improve their healthiness using optimal ingredients and processing. As more conventional meat producers move into plant-based meat products, consumers and policymakers should resist naturalistic heuristics about PB-APAs and instead embrace their benefits for the environment, public health, personal health, and animals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science