Plant protein low carbon emission reduction my country's first full life cycle carbon measurement report

Recently, Zhejiang Tsinghua Yangtze River Delta Research Institute released the "Carbon Emission Assessment Report of Fuyao Company's Vegetable Protein Beef Patties and Animal Beef Patties", marking the publication of the first carbon emission assessment report in the field of food deep processing in China, and also the first plant meat in my country. The advent of the carbon emission measurement report. The research object selected in this report is the vegetable protein beef patties produced by Harbin Fuyao Food Co., Ltd., a plant meat company under Dongfang Group Co., Ltd. (600811.SH).


my country's first full-life-cycle carbon emission assessment report in the field of food deep processing

In the research work of this report, the researchers used the minimum sales unit of vegetable protein beef patty 240g (120g×2) as a functional unit, and the carbon emissions of the whole industry chain of "from cradle to grave" of the vegetable protein beef patty of Fuyao Company (including greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption), conduct a life cycle assessment (LCA), and the assessment system involves all aspects of the production of the vegetable protein beef patty, including: agricultural production, raw materials, packaging materials and product processing, raw materials, Packaging materials and product storage links, raw and auxiliary materials, packaging materials and product transportation links, product retail links, and product consumption links.

The researchers compared the life-cycle outcomes of Fuyao's plant-based beef patties with animal beef patties. The results show that the carbon emission value of the whole industry chain of vegetable protein beef patties of Fuyao Company is 3.63 kgCO2eq, and the carbon emission value of the whole industry chain of animal beef patties is 35.10 kgCO2eq. 10% of the carbon emission value of the whole industry chain of beef patties; that is to say, the vegetable protein beef patties of Fuyao Company can reduce the carbon emissions of the whole industry chain by 90% compared with animal beef patties.


Comparison of carbon emission results of 240g Fuyao Company’s 

vegetable protein beef patties and animal protein beef patties (kgCO2eq)

Cai Qiang, director of the Institute of Food and Health, Zhejiang Tsinghua Yangtze River Delta Research Institute, said: "There has been a lack of carbon emission assessment reports in the field of food deep processing in China. On the one hand, my country has not established a corresponding and relatively complete database, and lacks standardized data. On the other hand, because the supply chain of food products is too long, it is difficult to obtain complete first-hand data from planting to consumer consumption. The research methods of this report have strong It also overcomes the difficulty of obtaining carbon emission data in the agri-food industry in the specific research process.”

The report adopts authoritative basic research data and scientific measurement methods (reflected in the references of the report) to ensure the validity, rationality and reference of the report. The evaluation data of Fuyao’s vegetable protein beef patties are obtained directly from various manufacturers by Fuyao, while the evaluation of animal beef patties refers to the existing, authoritative and highly recognized research data in the industry, including the 2006 IPCC carbon emission inventory Guide, China Statistical Yearbook 2021, China Energy Statistical Yearbook 2020, etc. In terms of measurement methods, the report adopts the life cycle assessment method and the emission factor method formulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to conduct carbon emission accounting.

"The carbon emission accounting methods and processes for different products are roughly the same. The product boundaries and system boundaries are basically determined, but the corresponding raw materials and processing procedures are slightly different. Therefore, the measurement method is applicable to various deep-processed foods." Jin Shanshan, a researcher at the Institute of Food and Health, Tsinghua Yangtze River Delta Research Institute in Zhejiang, said.


The carbon emission measurement system of the agricultural food industry is a proposition of the times

Under the guidance of the national goal of "carbon peaking and carbon neutrality", all industries in my country will transform to a low-carbon and green direction, and the agricultural and food industry is also in urgent need of transforming into a green, low-carbon and cyclical development system. At present, the immediate problem that restricts the agri-food industry to join the "carbon neutrality" action is that there is no standardized carbon emission measurement model and method, so it is temporarily impossible to carry out carbon trading or create carbon sinks; the entire life cycle of the agri-food industry has huge The carbon emission reduction space needs to have quantitative carbon emission measurement data for benchmarking and analysis, so as to realize the optimization for the purpose of carbon emission reduction.

According to statistics, greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural and food production activities account for about 20% of the country's total, and carbon emissions account for about 13% of the country's total carbon emissions, second only to electricity, energy, and transportation industries. According to conservative estimates, the global population will reach more than 9 billion in 2050. If the current supply chain efficiency and loss of the agri-food industry remain the same, food production will need to increase by 70% to feed the entire population. In addition, agricultural production occupies more than 50% of the world's available land and consumes more than 70% of the earth's own reserves of freshwater resources. It is foreseeable that reducing carbon emissions from the agri-food industry will be one of the biggest challenges facing the world in the coming decades.


Roadmap to carbon neutrality in the agri-food industry

From the perspective of the life cycle of the agri-food industry, the carbon emissions generated by the industry run through the entire process of planting and aquaculture production, energy and input use, circulation supply chain, and waste disposal; from the proportion of carbon emissions in the global agri-food industry Look, animal husbandry and fishery account for 31%, especially the digestion process of ruminants such as cattle, which produces a large amount of greenhouse gases; food production accounts for 27%, mainly animal feed production and fertilizer use; land use accounts for 24%, Mainly land use for livestock and consumer crops; food supply chain accounts for 18%, mainly energy consumed by food processing, transportation, packaging, and retail.

For the agri-food industry to fully realize "carbon peaking and carbon neutrality", profound and comprehensive solutions are needed, including innovative agricultural production technologies and methods, reducing supply chain losses, improving eating habits, reducing food waste, and finding low-carbon foods, etc. , requires the joint efforts of enterprises and research institutions in the agri-food industry.


Plant-based meat leads the new wave of low-carb food

The "Outline of China's Food and Nutrition Development (2014-2020)" issued by the General Office of the State Council clearly stated that "inheriting a fine dietary tradition based on plant-based food and supplemented by animal-based food". It is estimated that if the public can optimize the dietary structure on the premise of satisfying the balanced nutrition of the human body, the carbon emissions of that year can be reduced by 66.21 million tons in 2030.

Plant protein meat can be used as an efficient alternative food for animal husbandry and aquaculture products. According to public information, compared with animal protein meat, plant protein meat can reduce energy consumption by 46%, the impact on water shortages can be reduced by 99%, and the impact on land use can be reduced by 93%.

The head of research and development of Harbin Fuyao Food Co., Ltd. said: "Traditional animal husbandry requires a lot of land or water resources for breeding activities, and also requires a lot of plant protein for feed, and the average growth cycle of livestock and poultry takes half a year to a year. , an average of 5 grams of vegetable protein can be converted into 1 gram of animal meat; in comparison, vegetable protein meat has obvious environmental advantages. The production cycle of vegetable protein meat only takes a few days, and 1.5 grams of vegetable protein can be converted into 1 gram of vegetable meat. Protein meat, protein conversion efficiency is very high. That is, we can use less space and resources to produce the same energy.”


Fuyao Company Plant Meat Dishes Display

Plant protein meat can not only solve the problem of meat product shortage and protein gap, but also reduce the carbon emissions of the entire agricultural and food industry chain, help my country achieve the "double carbon goals" and achieve sustainable development of the agricultural and food industry. The "Carbon Emission Assessment Report of Fuyao Company's Vegetable Protein Beef Patties and Animal Beef Patties" also mentioned in the conclusion, "calculated based on the ratio of beef demand to meat demand ratio of 10%, China's beef shortage will reach 3.8 million tons in 2030. Above. If all the beef gaps are filled with vegetable protein beef patties, it will not only solve the shortage of beef in my country, but also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 497.96 million tons. When a 660 MW supercritical coal-fired unit in a thermal power plant is working at full load The carbon dioxide emission rate is 58,948.389 kg/h, and the 497.96 million tons of carbon dioxide less emitted is equivalent to the emission of 100 660 MW supercritical coal-fired units operating at full load in thermal power plants for about 10 years; calculated at a carbon trading price of 40 yuan/ton, The reduced emission of 497.96 million tons of CO2 is equivalent to saving about RMB 20 billion.”