Grain legume production in Europe for food, feed and meat-substitution

Marloes P. van Loon*, Seyyedmajid Alimagham, Annette Pronk, Nándor Fodor, Viorel Ion, Oleksandr Kryvoshein, Oleksii Kryvobok, Hélène Marrou, Rurac Mihail, M.I. Mínguez, Antonio Pulina, Moritz Reckling, Leopold Rittler, Pier Paolo Roggero, Frederick L. Stoddard, Cairistiona F.E. Topp, Jop van der Wel, Christine Watson, Martin K. van Ittersum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Partial shifts from animal-based to plant-based proteins in human diets could reduce environmental pressure from food systems and serve human health. Grain legumes can play an important role here. They are one of the few agricultural commodities for which Europe is not nearly self-sufficient. Here, we assessed area expansion and yield increases needed for European self-sufficiency of faba bean, pea and soybean. We show that such production could use substantially less cropland (4–8%) and reduce GHG emissions (7–22% current meat production) when substituting for animal-derived food proteins. We discuss changes required in food and agricultural systems to make grain legumes competitive with cereals for farmers and how their cultivation can help to increase sustainability of European cropping systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100723
JournalGlobal Food Security
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Faba bean
  • Pea
  • Protein production
  • Soybean
  • Yield gap analysis


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