The green market is not just about renewable energy and batteries. The green market will reshape everything we do. And that includes what we eat; food production accounts for more than 25% of all global carbon emissions. Most of these emissions come from livestock, including methane emissions from the animals themselves and the carbon emitted when farmers clear forests to open more land for grazing. So how will food systems change?
- We’ll eat less beef. One of the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions is to reduce beef consumption, because the demand for more pasture for cattle alone drives an estimated 41% of deforestation in the tropics (most famously in the Brazilian Amazon).
- We’ll eat more protein-rich plant food. Bloomberg estimates that plant-based foods — meaning meat substitutes from firms such as De Vegetarische Slager (Unilever) and Impossible Foods, plus dairy substitutes from players like Daiya Foods and Oatly — could make up to 7.7% of the global protein market by 2030, with a value of over $162 billion (up from $29.4 billion in 2020).
- We’ll use inputs better and waste less at every stage in the food chain. Vertical farmers such as Infarm and Plenty use sensors and cameras to gather data on moisture, nutrients, light, and oxygen; they use that data to grow high-quality produce using a fraction of the resources of conventional agriculture. And food producers and distributors are embracing IoT, blockchain, real-time monitoring, analytics, and AI to improve food safety and transparency and decrease waste.