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The changing food culture: A new era of food

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The fact that our food culture is changing is tangible on a daily basis. Whether in restaurants, the canteen or in the supermarket: The offer of non-animal products is growing continually and vegan alternatives are outstripping their animal counterparts. People are becoming increasingly health and environmentally-conscious and are questioning the impact of their own consumption on health, animals and the environment. The focus here lies above all more and more on meat and animal products. The demand for plant-based foods and vegan alternatives is rising. This change is also noticeable within the industry, food service and agricultural sectors.

As the biggest trade fair for food and beverages in the world, Anuga contributes towards establishing plant-based food as an important part of the food industry and offers companies that want to present their innovative meat substitute products, milk alternatives, vegan snacks and more, a stage.

Meat: In the past a superfood, today a problem food

Meat, milk and dairy products were considered to be healthy for a long time because of their high protein content and the high concentration of nutrients. In the meantime, they are not only challenged more and more because of the factory farming issue, but also because of the health-related and ecological consequences. These foods not only cause health problems, they also have ecological and social effects. The livestock industry has developed from being an integrated, agricultural activity into an independent industry that doesn't take the species-appropriate keeping of animals and a gentle slaughtering process into account much.

Environmental and animal rights movements have made their contribution towards raising the awareness of the consumers for meat and milk production. More and more people are paying attention to where their products come from - and more and more frequently opt for (organic) quality instead of quantity.

They choose a vegetarian or vegan diet out of ethical and ecological reasons - an urgent necessity in the face of the climate crisis. Cattle breeding is particularly one of the main sources of greenhouse emissions, which contribute strongly towards global warming. Furthermore, meat production requires large quantities of water, land and fodder. Due to the excrements and usage of fertilisers and pesticides, livestock farming leads to soil and water pollutions, which damage the ecosystem and have health effects on human and animals.

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The Planetary Health Diet: Plants under focus

Changing our food culture is being pushed forward by three main factors: the growing plant-based food industry, food services that centre the attention on vegetarian dishes and political initiatives like the Planetary Health Diet . This was developed by a group of independent scientists - the EAT-Lancet Commission - and considered to be a possibility for promoting a balanced and healthy diet that is at the same time environmentally-friendly. The focus lies on plant-based foods, the reduction of animal products, sustainable production and health advantages. More and more companies, but also day care centres, schools or universities are offering more vegetarian or vegan options on this basis and often actually do without meat completely.

Change of course in the agricultural sector

A falling demand for meat and animal products, climate change and a growing world population: All of this is naturally affecting our agriculture. A change of course is needed away from livestock farming towards sustainable plant-based production. Even if many farmers are still not ready for it.

Overall, we are observing a significant change in our food culture, which is being pushed forward by various factors such as environmentally-consciousness, heath concerns and the rise of plant-based alternatives.