Swapping 50% of Beef Americans Eat With Vegan Meat Could Save 72,000 Square Miles of Land

Swapping 50% of Beef Americans Eat With Vegan Meat Could Save 72,000 Square Miles of Land

Vegan meat company Impossible Foods has released its 2018 sustainability report. Titled “Mission: Earth,” the new report charts the California-based food tech brand’s progress, as well as the challenges it faces in attaining the goal of making animal agriculture obsolete by 2035.

Impossible Foods partnered with researchers at the Technical University of Denmark in order to measure the environmental impact of its flagship product, the vegan Impossible Burger. The “bleeding” vegan burger, famous for its realistic taste and texture, is now served in over 3,000 restaurants in the U.S., Hong Kong, and Macau, as well as on Air New Zealand flights. The data was then verified by third-party life cycle analysis, Quantis.

“Until today, the only technology we’ve known that can turn plants into meat has been animals — but cows, pigs, chicken, and fish are terribly inefficient at turning plants into meat. We now know how to make meat better — by making it directly from plants,” said Impossible Foods founder and CEO Pat Brown.

The research notes that if Americans replaced 50 percent of their ground beef with Impossible Foods vegan beef, it would reduce our carbon footprint by as much as 45 million metric tons, or the equivalent of removing the emissions of up to 11 million U.S. drivers for one year. Additionally, we would potentially save 3.2 trillion gallons of water, or the amount of water used by 90 million Americans in a year.

Why is stacking so satisfying? Don’t care just eat. #impossibleburger

A post shared by Impossible Foods (@impossible_foods) on

“In eliminating the need for animals in the food system, we will return massive tracts of land to biodiversity, reduce food insecurity and global conflicts, and let the Earth heal itself,” Brown continued. “Eliminating the need for animals in the food system is the easiest path to preserve our planet — without compromising quality of life.”

Experts also found that a shift to vegan meat would also free up a significant amount of land. Approximately 190,000 square kilometers of land currently used for raising livestock and their feed — an area the size of the New England region — would be freed up every year and could be used for carbon-trapping forests or to grow more sustainable crops such as beans or grains.

“Expecting people to eliminate or even reduce their consumption of the animal meat, fish, and dairy foods they love is unrealistic,” states the report. “Despite a growing recognition that animal agriculture is destroying the planet, the global demand for animal-derived food is surging. We need to solve this problem another way.”

Producing the Impossible Burger requires significantly fewer resources than traditional animal-based beef. According to the company, its vegan burger uses 75 percent less water, 95 percent less land, and generates 87 percent fewer greenhouse gases than beef. According to the largest-ever food production analysis study conducted, vegan food is the most effective way to combat climate change.

“The surest strategy for replacing the most destructive technology on Earth is to deliberately create foods that deliver greater pleasure and value to consumers of meat, fish, and dairy foods, then simply offer them as a choice — and let market demand take care of the rest,” states the report.

By using an environmentally-friendly process of extracting heme, a non-GMO, iron-rich molecule found in soy, Impossible Foods has created a vegan meat that, to all five senses, appears to be the real thing. It also behaves like ground beef in all practical cooking applications such as burgers, meatballs, and even international dishes. Last April, Impossible Foods chief financial officer David Lee said that the company’s ultimate goal is to create vegan meat and dairy for every cultural region of the world.

Image Credit: Impossible Foods