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This content is taken from the EIT Food, University of Reading & European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)'s online course, Engaging with Controversies in the Food System. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 seconds Good evening. On tonight’s programme, we’re going to be looking at alternative proteins and the part they may have to play in the future of global food security.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds With forecasts currently indicating a population of 9 billion people by 2050, experts estimate that global food production will have to more than double to make sure everyone has enough to eat. But how will this be possible when nearly 60% of the world’s ecosystems are already degraded or being used unsustainably? And when livestock farming is considered a leading cause of environmental damage, biodiversity loss, and increased greenhouse gas emissions. A change in our diet may be the key. Bleeding burgers made from plants, lab-grown meat, and brownies made of ground insects– would you choose these from a restaurant menu? What if they become necessary to replace meat as the main source of protein in our diet?

Skip to 1 minute and 30 seconds Major food producers and start-up entrepreneurs are all searching for more sustainable alternatives to animal products to satisfy our demand for protein. Plant-based meat substitutes, edible insects, algae, and cultured or lab-grown meat are just some of the intriguing options trying to find their way onto our plates. They claim to be as rich in protein as traditional animal-source meats, but use fewer natural resources, causing less pollution. They certainly sound promising, but there are lots of challenges to overcome. Not least the big question, will consumers eat them? Will their planet-saving benefits tempt you to give them a go, or is snacking on edible insects simply a step too far?

Newsreel: Alternative proteins

This mock news video introduces the first controversy you’ll be exploring on this course: alternative proteins, and the part they may have to play in the future of global food security. The rapidly expanding global population coupled with environmental degradation and climate change make feeding future generations a serious challenge. Do insects, algae and plant-based substitutes for meat hold the answer? Please tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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This video is from the free online course:

Engaging with Controversies in the Food System

EIT Food

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