Beef consumption in American has been on the decline since the 1970s and has dropped about 33%. As new meat substitutes take the world by storm we begin to wonder if the future of the food industry is taking a turn for the meatless. A recent study revealed that, if everyone went vegan, we could dramatically reduce our overall environmental impact and decrease our global land use by about 75%. The beef industry alone accounts for over half of America’s dietary footprint and, despite our decline in consumption, we still consume four times more beef than the world average.
Why eat less meat?
Despite our high consumption rates of meat, the younger generations of Americans are turning vegan. There has been a 600% increase in the last three years of people identifying as vegan and, according to a report by GlobalData, a full 70% of the world is intentionally reducing their meat intake with the millennial generation being at the forefront of the transition.
health benefits of meat SUBSTITUTES
While much of the younger generation’s reduced meat consumption is environmentally motivated, health is a leading motivator for their parents. When the World Health Organization connected processed meats such as ham and bacon to rising cancer rates, people rushed to reduce their consumption. The American Institution for Cancer Research and Kaiser Permanente recommend plant centered diets to reduce the risk of common killers such as heart disease. Consuming more than 18 ounces of red meat weekly increases a person’s risk for developing colon cancer. The National Academy of Sciences estimates we could save $31 trillion by the year 2050 if everyone reduced their meat intake.
Science has repeatedly confirmed a general reduction in meat consumption will benefit the world’s health, environmental impact and even our finances. With companies like Beyond Meat unrolling increasingly accepted meat substitutes it appears future generations may enjoy a diet heavier in vegetables than the average American diet today. Have you considered taking the leap to less meat? We would love to hear your thoughts on the subject!