Potential to replace part of the current meat consumption in Sweden with locally produced faba beans : effects on land use and food system sustainability

University essay from SLU/Department of People and Society

Abstract: This paper presents an investigation of how replacing part of the current meat consumption in Sweden with locally produced faba beans would influence land use and the sustainability of the food system, combined with a study of consumers´ attitude towards faba beans as a food legume. A thorough literature review about meat, land use and food system sustainability was carried out. The amount of meat to be replaced by faba bean was deduced from the difference between 2009 consumption data and the health-based recommended daily intake of 126 g meat per capita in total and red meat intake of 60g per capita per day. This suggested decrease in meat consumption corresponded to a replacement of 25% of the protein derived from meat with protein derived from faba beans. The calculated reduction in meat consumption corresponded to all meat derived from suckler beef production and 30% of the pork meat consumed in 2009. A taste survey using structured questionnaires was also carried out to determine consumers´ attitude towards faba bean grains as food. Results showed that 437 883 hectares of land would be saved by the suggested replacement, with meat coming from all beef of suckler production constituting 43.8% of replaced meat and the rest (56.2%) coming from pork. It also showed an effect of reduced global warming and pollution as well as benefits for cropping system sustainability and health. In addition, growing and consuming more faba bean has potential economic benefits to both consumers and some farmers. The survey indicated that Swedish consumers accept faba bean as food. Although replacing 25% of meat consumed in Sweden with faba bean will be difficult in the short term, it may be quite feasible in the long run. Replacing some of the meat consumed with locally produced legumes would according to this study not only benefit health and the environment but also increase the sustainability of the entire food system with a large land saving effect.

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