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Environmental comparison of Beyond Burger vs Beef


Is Beyond Burger better for the environment than beef?

There is a lot of buzz about products like the Beyond Burger, and for good reason. These products were created with meat eaters in mind. Sorry, vegetarians and vegans, but you can still benefit from their presence. The target market for the Beyond Burger is really meat eaters. By offering them a product that looks like beef and many feel tastes like beef, then it stands to reason that some will opt for Beyond Burgers for additional benefits, such as reducing animal cruelty, and for the environmental benefits. 

Those who have wondered if Beyond Burger really is more environmentally friendly than eating beef need only to consider the impact study that was conducted by the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems. They Beyond Meat company commissioned the group to do an environmental comparison to see if the Beyond Burger really was more environmentally friendly than eating beef. The university, noting that the Beyond Burger, which is made from pea protein, canola oil, and coconut oil, is functionally and nutritionally similar to beef, took the challenge and went forward with the analysis. Beyond Meat also wanted to see if the group could recommend ways to further make their products more environmentally friendly.

They compared such factors as greenhouse gas emissions, cumulative energy demand (energy use), water use, and land use. For the study, they compared a 4 ounce Beyond Burger, which is the typical size sold in grocery stores, to the same size beef burger. Their comparison concluded that Beyond Burger:

  • Produced 90% less greenhouse gas emissions
  • 46% less energy
  • 99% less impact on water scarcity
  • 93% less impact on land use

Their findings indicate that there is a significant environmental savings when opting for the Beyond Burger over a beef burger. Those who want to eat more environmentally friendly will do a lot of good opting for the Beyond Burger over a beef burger, according to the findings of the University of Michigan study. The group also pointed out that most of the environmental footprint for Beyond Burger comes in their packaging, and they recommended ways to reduce the impact on that. 

To see the full University of Michigan report comparing the Beyond Burger to beef, click here.


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