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Less meat, more legumes: prospects and challenges in the transition toward sustainable diets in Sweden

Röös, Elin and Carlsson, Georg and Ferawati, Ferawati and Hefni, Mohammed and Stephan, Andreas and Tidåker, Pernilla and Witthoft, Cornelia (2020). Less meat, more legumes: prospects and challenges in the transition toward sustainable diets in Sweden. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. 35 , PII S1742170518000443 , 192-205
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Abstract

The Western diet is characterized by high meat consumption, which negatively affects the environment and human health. Transitioning toward eating more plant-based products in Western societies has been identified as a key instrument to tackle these problems. However, one potential concern is that radically reducing meat in the current diet might lead to deficiencies in nutritional intake. In this paper, we explore a scenario in which meat consumption in Sweden is reduced by 50% and replaced by domestically grown grain legumes. We quantify and discuss the implications for nutritional intake on population level, consequences for agricultural production systems and environmental performance. The reduction in meat consumption is assumed to come primarily from a decrease in imported meat. We use data representing current Swedish conditions including the Swedish dietary survey, the Swedish food composition database, Statistics Sweden and existing life cycle assessments for different food items. At population level, average daily intake of energy and most macro- and micro-nutrients would be maintained within the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations after the proposed transition (e.g., for protein, fat, zinc, vitamin B12 and total iron). The transition would also provide a considerable increase in dietary fiber and some increase in folate intake, which are currently below the recommended levels. The transition scenario would increase total area of grain legume cultivation from 2.2% (current level) to 3.2% of Swedish arable land and is considered technically feasible. The climate impact of the average Swedish diet would be reduced by 20% and the land use requirement by 23%. There would be a net surplus of approximately 21,500 ha that could be used for bioenergy production, crop production for export, nature conservation, etc. Implementation of this scenario faces challenges, such as lack of suitable varieties for varying conditions, lack of processing facilities to supply functional legume-based ingredients to food industries and low consumer awareness about the benefits of eating grain legumes. In sum, joint efforts from multiple actors are needed to stimulate a decrease in meat consumption and to increase cultivation and use of domestically grown grain legumes.

Authors/Creators:Röös, Elin and Carlsson, Georg and Ferawati, Ferawati and Hefni, Mohammed and Stephan, Andreas and Tidåker, Pernilla and Witthoft, Cornelia
Title:Less meat, more legumes: prospects and challenges in the transition toward sustainable diets in Sweden
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:35
Article number:PII S1742170518000443
Number of Pages:14
Publisher:CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS
Associated Programs and Other Stakeholders:Z - SLU - Libray > Odla mera
ISSN:1742-1705
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 3 Medical and Health Sciences > 303 Health Sciences > Nutrition and Dietetics
Keywords:Cropping systems, environmental impact, food consumption, health, meat reduction, nutrition, scenario analysis, sustainable diets
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-108438
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-108438
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1017/S1742170518000443
Web of Science (WoS)000577526600009
ID Code:18675
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
LTV - Fakulteten för landskapsarkitektur, trädgårds- och växtproduktionsvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Energy and Technology
(LTJ, LTV) > Department of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)
(VH) > Department of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:16 Nov 2020 10:23
Metadata Last Modified:17 Nov 2020 05:00

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