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Article

Differences in Environmental Impact between Plant-Based Alternatives to Dairy and Dairy Products: A Systematic Literature Review

1
Ecoloop, Ringvägen 100, 118 60 Stockholm, Sweden
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Department of Media Technology and Interaction Design, Royal Institute of Technology, Osquars backe 31, 114 28 Stockholm, Sweden
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Strategic Sustainability Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, Teknikringen 10B, 114 28 Stockholm, Sweden
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12599; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212599
Received: 22 September 2021 / Revised: 11 November 2021 / Accepted: 12 November 2021 / Published: 15 November 2021
A large body of research suggests a more plant-based diet, including a switch to plant-based alternatives to dairy, is needed for lowering human-induced climate change as well as land and water use. With the help of a systematic literature review, we analyzed data from 21 peer-reviewed articles about the differences in emissions and resources used between various plant-based alternatives to dairy and dairy products. Emissions included were greenhouse gases, acidifying, eutrophicating, and ozone-depleting substances, and resource use included water, energy, and land. The results are presented as the quotients of the ratios of plant-based alternatives to dairy and dairy products. The comparison shows that the plant-based dairy alternatives have lower, or much lower, impacts in almost all cases, with two exceptions: water use for almond drinks (several studies) and emissions of ozone-depleting substances for margarine (one study). There is a lack of data concerning impacts other than greenhouse gas emissions for plant-based cheese alternatives; and in general, emissions of greenhouse gases are more highly covered than other impacts. In the quest for a swift transition to a low carbon economy, however, there is already enough evidence to proceed with a dietary change involving switching dairy products to plant-based alternatives. View Full-Text
Keywords: systematic literature review; plant-based dairy alternatives; milk; environmental impacts; greenhouse gas emissions; land use; water use systematic literature review; plant-based dairy alternatives; milk; environmental impacts; greenhouse gas emissions; land use; water use
MDPI and ACS Style

Carlsson Kanyama, A.; Hedin, B.; Katzeff, C. Differences in Environmental Impact between Plant-Based Alternatives to Dairy and Dairy Products: A Systematic Literature Review. Sustainability 2021, 13, 12599. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212599

AMA Style

Carlsson Kanyama A, Hedin B, Katzeff C. Differences in Environmental Impact between Plant-Based Alternatives to Dairy and Dairy Products: A Systematic Literature Review. Sustainability. 2021; 13(22):12599. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212599

Chicago/Turabian Style

Carlsson Kanyama, Annika, Björn Hedin, and Cecilia Katzeff. 2021. "Differences in Environmental Impact between Plant-Based Alternatives to Dairy and Dairy Products: A Systematic Literature Review" Sustainability 13, no. 22: 12599. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212599

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Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

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