Ironically, alternative proteins may be fuelling the growth of animal feeds and therefore animal agriculture! Growing animals requires the use of good quality, high protein feed. But, as we know, we’ve pretty well reached, or even exceeded, planetary boundaries for growing crops for animal feed. So to fuel the growth of the chicken production the industry is looking to alternative proteins as feed components.
Insect protein has been the first of the new options, now followed by biomass (single cell proteins) and macro and micro algae. Pulses like soy have been used for feeds and now other options like lentils and chickpeas are being explored.
On one hand the use of more sustainable animal feeds is a good thing, but on the other hand is it a good use of our planetary resources? Will people want to eat plants or chickens?
In the end it’ll be whether there’s more money in feeding plants to chickens to feed humans or in feeding humans directly!