Policy Insights from High-Income Countries to Guide Safe, Nutritious, and Sustainable Alternative Proteins for Low- and Middle-Income Countries

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The United Nations has encouraged governments to promote sustainable healthy diets to address undernutrition, obesity, and climate change. This perspective paper examines policy insights from selected high-income countries in Asia, Europe, and North America to understand how traditional and novel alternative proteins (AP) may support sustainable healthy diets in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) where populations experience malnutrition in all forms. AP products must be affordable, locally sustainable, and culturally acceptable to improve diet quality and health. Food-based dietary guidelines are a policy tool to guide AP product formulation, manufacturing, processing, labeling, and marketing to ensure that these products complement traditional plant- and animal-source proteins in sustainable healthy diets. This paper suggests that a new food categorization taxonomy is needed to guide AP product recommendations. Decision-makers must harmonize multisectoral policies to ensure LMIC populations have access to sustainable healthy diets to achieve a protein transition and food systems transformation by 2050.

protein transition, alternative proteins, plant-based proteins, animal-source proteins, sustainable healthy diets