Try to learn, benefit from plant-based protein movement

Animal Nutrition Views

Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.

Try to learn, benefit from plant-based protein movement

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Human eating trends continuously change and some are nothing but a fad, so we need to learn from them as much as fight them for the future of our animal industry.

Plant-based proteins (imitation meat) is all the rave these days in the U.S. and the EU. Both are highly developed regions with a high concentration of urban populations.

There is also a movement to clarify what is milk and what is not as the dairy industry woke up to find out their milk can now be milked out of soy or almonds. I believe all these eat-more-plants movements are nothing but a passing trend in the greater timeframe of history and, indeed, there is nothing wrong in eating more plants or more animal products.

The animal production industry is, of course, skeptical about these movements as they can potentially threaten our livelihood, and rightly so. But, instead of or, in addition to, trying to correct the folly of abandoning animal products altogether, it is better to understand why consumers respond to such calls. If we can do that, perhaps we can position our animal products in the flow of developing trends, instead of being constantly against them.

In my opinion, humans in urban centers (mainly) no longer consider food as simply a way to nourish their bodies. Having spare income to enjoy, they also want to look better, feel better, live happier, and live longer. They want to be free from diseases and take more care of themselves as they have more time now to read and think about such things. The internet high-speed information overflow also provides a constant message that this is the way forward.

So, again in my unqualified opinion, modern humans do not want to become vegans (at least not all of them). But they want, and now many can afford, to buy expensive products that will fulfill their desire for a better life. If smart plant-based products claim they can offer such benefits, consumers will follow them. The higher the income, the less proof they need to try something new and more expensive, as long as it is safe and makes at least some sense.

Why not do the same and create animal products that will not only be safe, nutritious, and tasty to consume, but they will offer further benefits that fit with the eating habits of modern urban populations? Omega-3-enriched eggs already exist, but we have not promoted them as we should have, and I wonder why. And, why even stop there? There are so many other possibilities.

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