The importance of eggs in an environmentally sustainable diet has been highlighted, with a paper saying they are responsible for less carbon, land and water use than other animal proteins.
The paper evaluated scientific reports and peer-reviewed papers on the environmental impact of eggs in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use.
Researchers from the British Nutrition Foundation then compared the impacts of eggs with those of other animal and plant proteins.
Eggs are often categorised with other animal proteins such as beef, lamb, poultry, meat and dairy when reporting on the potential environmental impact of food and diets.
However, the shift towards more environmentally friendly diets demands a clear understanding of the evidence base on which such a diet should be based.
The review shows that eggs are responsible for less carbon, land and water use than other animal proteins, particularly beef and only slightly more than most plant proteins.
Dr Pamela Mason, public health nutritionist, who authored the review, said “As we shift towards more planet-friendly diets, there needs to be a clear understanding of principles underpinning a healthy, sustainable diet.
“It’s wrong to categorise eggs with other animal products, in particular red meat, in terms of environmental impact, and their importance as an affordable high-quality protein should not be overlooked.”
Andrew Joret, chairman of the British Egg Industry Council, welcomed the paper: “Eggs have the lowest environmental impact of any animal protein and provide important nutrients, particularly beneficial for people choosing to eat less red meat.
“We believe that eggs can be part of the solution to balancing a reduction in environmental impact whilst supporting good nutrition.
The review paper entitled ‘The importance of eggs in an environmentally sustainable diet’ has been published in the British Nutrition Foundation’s ‘Nutrition Bulletin’.