The Sustainability of Plant Based Protein Powders
If you’re looking to purchase protein powder, what’s important for you? For most, it needs to taste good, be good for you and meet your dietary needs.
For a lot of people today, however, the environment is also a concern when choosing what they eat, drink and purchase. Which protein powder is best for the environment?
Here’s a hint - it doesn’t come from a cow or a chicken.
A quick history on protein powders
When you’re in the market for protein powders you have several choices.
First, there’s the powders that, up until 20 or 30 years ago, were the main ones that you could get your hands on. These were either sourced from whey or casein proteins, which are both derived from dairy, from eggs or from the connective tissues of animals.
Then along came plant-based protein powders. These were commonly made from pea, soy, hemp, rice and faba beans. One of the key benefits of these powders is that, unlike animal based protein powders, they’re suitable for vegans and vegetarians. They can also be suitable for people who have allergic reactions or are sensitive to dairy.
There is a benefit that you might not think about and that’s the environment.
Why plant-based protein powders are a sustainable choice
In a world where environmental concerns are increasingly considered in our purchases, more people are turning to plant based protein powders.
Let’s take a look at the key reasons why plant based protein powders are an environmentally friendly choice:
- When you choose plant based protein powders, you’re purchasing a product that results in less greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock production, which is responsible for producing animal based protein powders, contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through methane produced by ruminant animals and the carbon footprint of animal farming. Plant based protein production in general has a lower carbon footprint, because plants emit fewer greenhouse gases during cultivation and often involve less energy-intensive processing methods.
- Plant based protein powders require less resources throughout all stages of the process, particularly on the farm. Livestock farming requires vast quantities of water, land and feed, while plant based protein sources generally require fewer natural resources. They do, of course, require water, land and feed - in the form of fertiliser - but in significantly less quantities.
- The farming of animals and plants both require large areas of land, but as highlighted above, the requirement is less for plants. This helps preserve natural habitats which otherwise could be lost to farmland for livestock.
- Farmers who apply sustainable farming practices for their plant crops, such as crop rotation and organic agriculture, can enhance biodiversity by promoting healthier ecosystems.
- The farming of plants produces less pollution than the farming of animals. Livestock farming is a significant source of water and air pollution due to the runoff of manure and the release of methane gas from animals. These pollutants can have detrimental effects on water quality, aquatic life, and air quality.
- The production of plant based protein powders is typically less energy-intensive than the production of animal based protein powders. This is true in both cultivation and processing.
- Overgrazing by livestock and intensive agricultural practices can lead to soil erosion and land degradation. Plant-based protein production can help mitigate soil erosion and land degradation if sustainable farming practices, such as no-till farming, cover cropping, and organic cultivation, are commonly associated with plant-based agriculture.
But what about the taste?
While plant based protein powders are a better choice for the environment, they’re not going to be universally popular if they don’t taste good.
To be honest, this is where many early plant based protein powders missed the mark and there are still many that are lacking today. Some powders simply don't taste great, while many have a grainy, gritty texture.
If protein powders have left you disappointed in the past, then try those made with faba beans. Most people agree that faba bean protein powder has a cleaner taste than many plant based powders. Plus, it’s super smooth and doesn’t contain grit.
On the environmental front, it’s also a winner:
- Faba bean crops enrich the soil with nitrogen through natural nitrogen fixation, reducing the need for the addition of fertilisers.
- They typically require less irrigation, conserving water resources.
- As a rotational crop, they break pest and disease cycles, reducing the need for pesticides and promoting biodiversity.
- Faba beans also enhance carbon sequestration, mitigating climate change.
- Their adaptability to diverse environmental conditions makes them a resilient choice.
So, if you’re after a plant based protein powder that tastes good and is good for you and the environment, the choice is clear.Try Pure Plant Protein’s range of faba bean protein powders today.