Study Proves Vegan Beyond Burger Is 'More Sustainable Than Beef'

The company worked with the University of Michigan to compare the environmental impact of plant and animal proteins
The vegan Beyond Burger
The Beyond Burger is made entirely from plants (Photo: Beyond Meat)

Vegan food tech startup Beyond Meat has released a report it says proves its plant-based burgers are more sustainable to produce than traditional beef.

The company worked with the University of Michigan to lead a third-party, peer-reviewed Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) comparing the environmental impact of making a 1/4 Beyond Burger versus everything that goes into making a ¼ lb. U.S. beef burger.

The LCA study concluded that The Beyond Burger uses 99 percent less water, 93 percent less land, generates 90 percent fewer Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGE), and requires 46 percent less energy than a beef burger.

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Vegan is less intensive

"Did you know beef is one of the most resource-intensive foods in our diet?" a Beyond Meat spokesperson wrote in a company post. "To make just ONE ¼ lb beef patty requires 58 gallons of water and 41 sq. ft of land.

"But who says meat has to come from animals? Meat is made up of four building blocks: protein, fat, trace minerals, and water. Beyond Meat finds these same building blocks in the plant kingdom and rebuilds meat from the ground up without sacrificing on taste or texture.

"It makes intuitive sense that if you skip the middleman, you can make meat much more efficiently, but how much more? Building meat without the animal requires way less resources, making it a much more efficient and sustainable process. The Beyond Burger is simply meat made better."


“Environmental footprints are just one component of sustainability," Sara Place, Ph.D., Senior Director of Sustainable Beef Production Research, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, told Plant Based News.

"A variety of other factors should be considered when evaluating a product's overall sustainability footprint including soil health, preservation of natural grasslands and ecosystems, and nutrition density.  Additionally, the study referenced compares a plant product to a meat product, and it is inaccurate to compare the two solely on a weight basis.

"Animal proteins are complete proteins, which contain essential amino acids in a form easily utilized by the human body. That is not the case with plant-based products.  Beef is also an excellent source of zinc, iron and B vitamins that are essential to life. These nutritional quality differences are masked when comparing four ounces of a plant-based product to four ounces of beef."

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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Maria is the Editor of Plant Based News. A former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers. She was previously the editor of Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.

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