The study, carried out by the Sustainable European Research Institute (SERI), based in Vienna, has found that significantly fewer harmful greenhouse gases result from the production of soy meat, tofu and seitan (wheat gluten).
Creating one kilogram of minced meat releases 7,200g of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To create the same amount of soya releases just 350g of CO2.
SERI looked at eight food products made of soy granulate or seitan and took into account factors such as water consumption, transport and the use of renewable/non-renewable resources.
Meat alternatives are the ideal replacement for minced meat, since on the plate it is almost impossible to tell the textures apart, said Sebastian Zoesch of the German Vegetarian Society.
He added that if each German carnivore replaced the 12kg of minced meat they eat a year with a non-meat alternative the CO2 savings would be equivalent to the emissions of 4-7 million cars.