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Water Footprint of Meat Analogs: Selected Indicators According to Life Cycle Assessment

1
Center for Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyles, and Disease Prevention, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, USA
2
Water Sciences & Insights, Encinitas, CA 92023, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
First two authors contributed equally and are listed in arbitrary order.
Water 2019, 11(4), 728; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040728
Received: 13 March 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 9 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water–Food–Energy Nexus)
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Abstract

Animal-based products reportedly have substantial water footprints. One alternative to meat products is meat analogs, which are processed plant-based foods mimicking real meat products. As data for the water footprints of meat analogs are limited, the present study assesses their water consumption and their potential for contributing to eutrophication and ecotoxicity in fresh and marine receiving waters. Life cycle assessments, which encompassed the generation of ingredients to the packaging of products, were performed for 39 meat analogs. Estimates for consumptive water use, ecotoxicity, and eutrophication are reported per ton of product and per kilogram of protein. On average, 3800 m3 of water were consumed per ton of product, whereas 0.56 kg P equivalents. and 12 kg 1,4-DCB (1,4-dichlorobenzene)) equivalents. were potentially released to terrestrial freshwaters and 2.2 kg N equivalents. and 7 kg 1,4-DCB equivalents. to marine waters. The predominant driver for water consumption and marine ecotoxicity was processing the meat analogs, whereas producing the raw ingredients was the main driver for freshwater toxicity and eutrophication. For reducing the use of and potential impacts on water, meat analogs may represent a viable alternative to processed meat products. View Full-Text
Keywords: meat analogs; water footprints; freshwater use; marine waters; eutrophication; ecotoxicity; life cycle assessment meat analogs; water footprints; freshwater use; marine waters; eutrophication; ecotoxicity; life cycle assessment
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Fresán, U.; Marrin, D.L.; Mejia, M.A.; Sabaté, J. Water Footprint of Meat Analogs: Selected Indicators According to Life Cycle Assessment. Water 2019, 11, 728.

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