Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

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

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


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.


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

Published in

Global Food Security
2023, Volume: 39, article number: 100723