The no‑meat myth

It’s a common misunderstanding. Plant-based means reducing our meat consumption, not necessarily removing it altogether from our diet.

Small choices — big impact. Here is the average drop in food-related emissions when people switch to a lower-impact diet.

Average reduction Reduction range
Partly replace meat and dairy with plants
Replace beef and lamb with non-red meat

Source: Aleksandrowicz et al, PLOS ONE

The Planetary Health Diet

This global reference diet for adults shows how we can eat within the planetary boundaries and improve the health of the world's population.

  • Vegetables and/or fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Dairy
  • Animal-sourced protein
  • Plant-sourced protein
  • Unsaturated plant oils
  • Added sugars

Source: EAT-Lancet

One hamburger per week

The Planetary Health Diet recommends eating the following amount of animal-sourced protein per week.

Red meat

98 g

1 regular-sized burger

… or poultry

203 g

2-3 small chicken breasts

… or fish

196 g

2 small salmon fillets

Source: EAT-Lancet

Climate-friendly recipes

So, you want to eat more plants and need inspiration? Try these delicious recipes.

50 future-friendly foods to try

A sustainable diet is much more than fruit and vegetables. To elevate a wider range of plant-based produce, leading scientists, nutritionists, and agricultural experts have compiled the Future 50 Foods report, which showcases plant ingredients based on nutritional value and environmental impact.

Read the report

The future food generator

  • Alfalfa sprouts

    Crunchy texture and mild flavor make these a great addition to sandwiches and soups. They can also be eaten on their own, topped with a light dressing.

    Type: Sprouts

  • Black turtle beans

    Popular in Latin America, these powerhouses of the legume family are regularly listed as ‘superfoods’ due to their high protein and fiber content.

    Type: Beans & pulses

  • Hemp seeds

    Eaten raw, made into hemp meal, sprouted or made into powder, they can even be refined into paper, renewable plastic, clothes and biofuel.

    Type: Nuts & seeds

  • Okra

    This slim, green-seed pod is commonly used in the Caribbean and can be steamed, stir-fried or grilled. It pairs well with strong, spicy flavors and seasonings.

    Type: Fruit & vegetables

  • Maitake mushrooms

    Noted for their B vitamin content and for being a non-animal source of vitamin D, they have a strong, earthy taste and enrich the flavors of other foods.

    Type: Mushrooms

  • Laver seaweed

    A variety of red algae known for its link to Japanese cuisine. Called ‘nori’ in Japan, it’s commonly used for wrapping sushi.

    Type: Algae

  • Pumpkin flowers

    Rich in vitamin C, the combination of mild pumpkin and soft texture make them the perfect addition to soups, sauces, salads and pasta dishes.

    Type: Fruit & vegetables

  • Spinach

    Although its powers were highly overstated by Popeye, it is particularly high in vitamins A, B, C and K.

    Type: Leafy greens

  • Wakame seaweed

    Cultivated for centuries by sea farmers in Korea and Japan, deep-green colored wakame is rich in nutrients and easy to grow.

    Type: Algae

  • Nopales

    A common ingredient in Mexican cuisine, the leaves and flowers can be eaten raw, cooked, or made into delicious juices and jams.

    Type: Cacti

  • Sprouted kidney beans

    A popular and versatile source of protein. When sprouted, their nutritional value skyrockets and the slight bitterness pairs well with sweetened sauces or dressings.

    Type: Sprouts

  • Khorasan wheat

    Grown in 40 countries, it’s available in many forms, including as a wholegrain, couscous and flour. The kernels are great in stews, soups, pilafs and salads.

    Type: Cereals & grains

  • Teff

    Known as ‘the next super grain’, the seeds can be steamed or boiled in stock or water to be served as a side dish or to bulk up dishes.

    Type: Cereals & grains

  • Ube (purple yam)

    Native to the Philippines, it is often eaten in the same way as potatoes boiled or baked. Even used as a sweetened pudding called ube halayá.

    Type: Tubers

  • Sesame seeds

    These healthy seeds add crunch and a nice nutty flavor to sushi, salads, soups, noodle and rice dishes. They also make a wonderfully fragrant oil.

    Type: Nuts & seeds

  • Orange tomatoes

    They’re sweeter and less acidic than their red relatives, and they contain up to twice as much vitamin A and folate (B vitamin) than other varieties.

    Type: Fruit & vegetables

  • Broccoli rabe

    Boil or sauté it with garlic and chili and serve as a side. All parts are delicious paired with grains, nuts and other vegetables.

    Type: Leafy greens

  • Finger millet

    Try using it as porridge or milled into flour for bread or pancakes. Its mild flavor is slightly nuttier than quinoa with a similar texture to couscous.

    Type: Cereals & grains

  • Sprouted chickpeas

    One cup of chickpeas provides around ten grams of protein. Hummus made from sprouted chickpeas has more crunch and a nuttier flavor.

    Type: Sprouts

  • Saffron milk cap mushrooms

    Often featured in risottos and pasta dishes, their name comes from their beautiful saffron color and the orange milky liquid that oozes when sliced.

    Type: Mushrooms

  • Adzuki beans

    Rising in popularity due to their versatility, nutritional content and flavor, often they can be cooked, puréed and sweetened, added to soups or rice as a side.

    Type: Beans & pulses

  • Red Indonesian (Cilembu) sweet potatoes

    Native to Indonesia, when baked they have a very distinctive aroma and sweet taste with a sugary, honey-like glaze.

    Type: Tubers

  • Wild rice

    Compared with white rice it contains more protein, zinc and iron. Add it to salads, soups and mix with other grains and vegetables to make vegetarian burgers.

    Type: Cereals & grains

  • Lotus root

    High in vitamin C, these have a crunchy texture and a tangy, flavor making them a great addition to most dishes, whether stir fried, deep-fried, braised or pickled.

    Type: Tubers

  • Walnuts

    Containing more omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E than many other nuts, they are mostly eaten in cakes, muesli, stews, sauces and dressings.

    Type: Nuts & seeds

  • Broad beans (fava beans)

    With a sweet, grassy taste and buttery texture, they are protected by a pod that can be eaten raw when the plant is young.

    Type: Beans & pulses

  • Pumpkin leaves

    A good source of iron, vitamin K and carotenoids, they taste like a cross between asparagus, broccoli and spinach.

    Type: Leafy greens

  • Red cabbage

    Not only more colorful and hardier than green cabbage, it also has ten times more vitamin A and double the amount of iron.

    Type: Leafy greens

  • Quinoa

    This long-time staple in South America has been gaining popularity in Europe and the US since the early 2000s, marketed as a healthier, tastier replacement for rice.

    Type: Cereals & grains

  • Mung beans

    Great with noodles, rice dishes, curries and stir-fries. They can even be scrambled like eggs or puréed to resemble ice cream.

    Type: Beans & pulses

  • Soy beans

    Undoubtedly a powerful food. Raw soy beans contain 38 grams of protein per 100 grams - similar to pork and three times more than an egg.

    Type: Beans & pulses

  • Watercress

    With a pungent, peppery taste and crisp texture, both leaves and stems can be eaten sautéed or fresh, and are great mixed in soups, salads, tarts and omelets.

    Type: Leafy greens

  • Parsley root

    Great as fritters or chips or grated raw into salads and slaws. Both taproot and leaves are edible and high in vitamin C.

    Type: Root vegetables

  • Fonio

    Arguably Africa’s oldest cultivated food, it’s been around for more than 5,000 years. Gluten-free and highly nutritious, it can be used in salads, cereals, crackers, pastas or baked.

    Type: Cereals & grains

  • Moringa

    Often referred to as ‘the miracle tree’ because of its exceptional fast-growing qualities, the versatile leaves have a similar flavor to fellow greens.

    Type: Leafy greens

  • Marama beans

    When roasted, they taste like cashews, making them a great addition to stir-fries, curries and other cooked dishes.

    Type: Beans & pulses

  • Buckwheat

    A great alternative to rice, it’s ideal cooked in a broth and can be used in salads or stuffing. Popular in Russia and Eastern Europe.

    Type: Cereals & grains

  • Flax seeds

    Commonly eaten in salads and cereals, they are now in high demand for vegetarian burgers and other plant-based dishes.

    Type: Nuts & seeds

  • Cowpeas

    Cultivated for their nutty taste and high nutritional value, they are energy powerhouses packed with minerals and vitamins, including folate and magnesium.

    Type: Beans & pulses

  • Amaranth

    This sandy yellow seed is high in magnesium and protein. It has a mild, slightly nutty taste and gelatinous texture, making it ideal for soups, sides and risottos.

    Type: Cereals & grains

  • Spelt

    An ancient form of wheat, it’s a hybrid of emmer wheat and goat grass. The mellow, nutty flavor is popular in place of rice in pilaf, risotto and side dishes.

    Type: Cereals & grains

  • Black salsify

    This parsnip-like root vegetable can be boiled, mashed or roasted, and served in place of a potato. It works well in stews and soups.

    Type: Root vegetables

  • Beet greens

    The leafy green part of the beetroot is the most nutritious part of the plant – a great addition to stews, soups and salads.

    Type: Leafy greens

  • White icicle radish (winter radish)

    They look like carrots and are tasty grilled, braised or roasted. Also enjoy them grated or sliced into salads, stir-fries, curries and soups to add crunch.

    Type: Root vegetables

  • Pak-choi

    Crisp with a mild, cabbage-like flavor, it goes well with rich, sticky sauces and provides a crunchy texture.

    Type: Leafy greens

  • Bambara beans

    This legume tastes and is eaten like a nut and has gained interest due to its ability to grow in challenging environments.

    Type: Beans & pulses

  • Lentils

    This cousin of the pea requires little water to grow and has a carbon footprint 43 times lower than that of beef.

    Type: Beans & pulses

  • Enoki mushrooms

    Cook quickly to keep texture and enhance their umami flavor - either flash fried, pan-roasted or bathed in the residual heat of stews or stir-fries.

    Type: Mushrooms

  • Kale

    Packed with vitamins A, K and C, it can be eaten raw, roasted, boiled, sautéed, grilled or use dried and whizzed up in soups and smoothies.

    Type: Leafy greens

  • Yam bean root (jicama)

    Typically eaten fresh and sliced to add crunch to salads or as a snack, only the root or tuber part of the yam bean root should be eaten.

    Type: Tubers

Meet the meat-lover who has shifted his mindset

”There were basically just two ingredients in Iceland growing up as a child – fish and lamb,” says Ragnar Fridriksson whose travels abroad from an early age were a culinary eye-opener. 

As a life-long food lover and wine buff, he’s spent his professional life in the hospitality industry, moving countries and crossing continents and today he’s Managing Director of Worldchefs. He admits he was a skeptic when talking in terms of plant-based began. But that was 10 years ago…

What was the moment that sparked your interest for all-things food?

There wasn’t really a restaurant scene when I was growing up in Iceland in the 80s but then my father moved to England where we visited all types of restaurants. That’s when I started to get really enthusiastic about food as well as wine. I studied at catering school with a view to running a hotel or restaurant. I never thought about becoming a chef – as a people person I wanted to be front of house – but I immediately got hooked on cooking and seeing how chefs worked in the kitchens. 

Have your food influences changed over the years?

I’m still very curious about food and always want to dive in and experience new things. I’ve been lucky to travel a lot with my work and be exposed to a lot of amazing food cultures, so I guess it’s harder for me to be surprised these days. 

Italian cuisine is my go-to comfort food and, for a special occasion, I’d go back to my roots with lamb – but with a twist of Mediterranean influence including aubergines, bell peppers and squash. I still eat meat but my diet has changed a lot and I incorporate a lot more plant-based today. 

Still, you were initially skeptical of the plant-based ‘trend’ – is that fair?

Yes, I was. It was around 10 years ago when Worldchefs began discussing the role of the chef in a more sustainable food system. Part of that was about buying local and seasonal but it was also about simply eating more fruit and vegetables. It’s crazy how fast it has evolved and chefs today cannot dismiss it. There has been a huge shift and plant-based is not just a trendy fad – consumers are continuing to demand more alternatives. 

What changes have you made when cooking at home?

Today, I live in France which has a huge agricultural landscape and farmers’ market everywhere. It’s a ritual for me to visit them and its where you find the best seasonal produce. Back in Iceland, vegetables mean potatoes, carrots or turnips so the variety and choice are great to experiment with. Cooking with them is amazing when they are so fresh, in season and readily available and I like to add different flavors, tossing in influences such as Indian, Thai or Moroccan.  

How would you encourage others to make a similar shift in their diets?

People tend to be put off buying vegetables for two reasons; because they are perishable and they take too much time to prepare. I buy vegetables in bulk and if they are about to go off, I just whizz them up into a soup, which you can even freeze in portions. I’d also encourage people to get a good quality, sharp knife, keep it sharp and improve your knife skills. Learn the basics of how chefs work and cutting vegetables becomes fast so cooking becomes easier, more enjoyable and it saves you a lot of time. 

The no‑meat myth

So, we're not talking no meat...

Plant-based means predominantly filling your plate with vegetables and fruits and eating a moderate amount of animal protein too. Remember, future foods are already here! There's a vast array of ingredients to discover and try.

So, what can I do?