what will our plates look like in 2050?

Successive extreme climatic events could lead us to radically change our consumption patterns by 2050, imagine CNRS researchers. And this transformation would be seen in particular on our plates.

Transport, deforestation, plastic, waste, CO2 emissions for meat production… Our food weighs heavily on our carbon footprint and therefore on climate change. The CNRS, together with other research organizations, has thus imagined the content of our plates by 2050 in five scenarios, as reported The Parisian in its Wednesday edition.

According to the most lasting vision, the “extreme climatic events” (heat waves, droughts, floods) which follow one another “at a worrying rate from the 2020s onwards have made the rapid transition to drastic changes in production and consumption”.

In this case, the CNRS expects a radical transformation of our food system, leading to a profound reorganization of our plates.

Meat consumption divided by three

This scenario presented by the CNRS – that of the “frugal generation” – implies a significant change in our norms and values ​​and a lasting change in our diets. The main change with our current diets is the decrease in consumption of animal products.

In this hypothesis, “30% of the population has adopted meatless diets”, projects the study.

The average individual consumption of meat is divided by three and that of milk of animal origin by 1.4 compared to today. As a result, our diet includes a higher proportion of cereals, legumes and soy products which provide cheap protein that is easy to store and preserve.

Consumption of animal protein only reaches 49% of total protein.

More orange juice, coffee or cocoa

Faced with the shock of the ecological crisis, according to this projection, many transformations have taken place. France imports less and has better food self-sufficiency. Thus, “some of the imported products have been replaced by national productions”, writes the CNRS.

For example, we no longer drink orange juice, abandoned for apple or grape juice, produced on the territory. There is also a strong reduction in the consumption of coffee, cocoa and tropical fruits in general.

Raw or low-temperature cooked foods

This revegetation of our plates, added to the consumption of seasonal and local products, leads to an overall drop in demand for raw and processed products. According to the present study, this decrease would be around 30% compared to our current consumption.

In this scenario, “the return to habits of consumption of simple and fresh products” would be accompanied by “methods of preparation that require less heat”. In other words, the French would eat more raw products, cooked in marinades or at low temperatures, stored canned, in jars or dried. This would allow us to shut down our energy-intensive ovens and freezers.

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