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Amsterdam - Workshop: Sustainable Protein Supply

16 March 2012 - The Netherlands

Amsterdam - Workshop: Sustainable Protein Supply

The aim of the workshop is to come up with a research agenda that provides
a vision and ambition on future supply of sustainable protein in Europe and
defines the first steps to be taken to realize its implementation.

The global demand for animal protein (such as meat and milk proteins) is
increasing rapidly. This is caused by the growing world population and
reinforced by the increasing income per capita in industrializing countries
in Asia and South America. For example, in the period 1970-2000 the global
consumption of meat increased from about 100 to 235x106 tons. The FAO
estimates that the meat consumption will rise to a level of 463 tons in
2050.

This increase will of course result in a tremendous growth in need for feed
protein, which will be hard to meet in an eco-sustainable way. Globally, the
livestock sector is responsible for 18% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas
emission measured in CO2 equivalents, accounts for 70% of all agricultural
land and for over 8% of global human water usage (FAO report "Livestock's
long shadow").

Hence, reducing the environmental impact of the global protein consumption
is of crucial importance to allow meeting the needs for future generations.
Mitigating options to reduce the impact are:

1. Optimize animal protein production with respect to environmental impact
(e.g. use of protein sources not suited for human consumption, increase
digestive efficiency)

2. Develop alternatives to conventional animal protein containing products
(e.g. plant based meat substitutes, insects)

3. Promote a change in eating habits of consumers (e.g. eating less meat,
other types of meat).

During the workshop, emphasis will be on options 1 and 2. These options, as
well as food politics regarding sustainable protein supply, will be
discussed by experts in the fields. Furthermore, the vision of the EU on
this topic will be presented. Last but not least, consequences for the
European research and innovation agenda will be assessed..

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