Protein consumption

This indicator shows the ratio of plant and animal protein sources in the Flemish people’s consumption pattern.

41.3% plant-based

  • In 2023, 41.3% of protein intake came from plant sources; this is a slight increase from a decade ago.
  • Average protein intake is a lot higher than recommended.

What do we see?

For total protein intake, we see that the daily intake for women is 12 grams above the average daily recommended intake of 52 grams per day, and for men 22 grams above the guideline of 62 grams per day.

For more details on protein consumption, there are data from surveys on effective consumption and on purchases. The first data source shows that in 2023 41.3% of Flemish protein intake came from plant-based sources, and 58.7% from animal sources. A similar survey from 2014 (the Food Consumption Survey) shows a slightly lower ratio of 38.6% plant-based sources.

In the amount of protein purchased, we see that the ratio between plant and animal protein-rich products remains relatively stable, at 33/67.

What’s the aim?

Proteins are vital to our diet. Depending on the source, the material story behind it is very different. For animal proteins, the environmental impact is generally higher than for plant proteins. Part of this lies in the fact that animals are fed with plant sources first. Reducing animal protein intake is a circular strategy both in absolute and relative terms, because we eat more protein than we need and because plant-based alternatives exist: a healthy and balanced diet can therefore be guaranteed. In 2021, as part of the Protein Strategy, the Flemish Government launched the Green Deal Protein Shift on our plates, with the aim of improving the ratio of animal and vegetable proteins in Flemish consumption towards a figure of 40/60 animal-based/plant-based proteins by 2030, and achieving a reduction in total protein intake.

What does this indicator measure?

Several figures were combined for this indicator. A key source is the EI-MEET report, which tracks protein intake and sources in Flanders annually from 2023 onwards. This report shares the results of two surveys, one focusing on consumption and one on purchases. In terms of approach, the survey focused on consumption closely follows the Food Consumption Survey conducted by Sciensano in 2014 and includes both consumption at home and on the move and takes into account food losses. Through the Food Consumption Survey, figures for overall protein intake were also obtained. The survey focusing on purchases allows annual trends to be monitored.

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