Oscar Lavitt ’23
The world is currently experiencing a food revolution. Alternative food sources such as plant-based meats are stepping into the forefront. From your local supermarket to international chain restaurants, alternative meats are everywhere. Currently, there are only a few mainstream alternative meat options, but the future may be more diverse than you think. Scientists across the globe have been experimenting with various products for years, and someday these products may overtake traditional meat itself.
An investor network called FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return) recently released a study that indicates that alternative protein sources might hold up to 64% of the global market by 2060. It assesses that many alternative proteins may soon capture the consumer market.
One of these possibilities is 3D-printed meat. Companies around the world have been able to use 3D printers to layer flavoured protein compounds with plant-based oils to closely mimic a real steak. The usage of this technology gives scientists the power to create something that looks, feels, and tastes the same as animal-based meat, with none of the environmental or ethical problems.
Although this is not the end goal for some companies. The CEO of Novameat, a Barcelona-based start-up, stated in an interview, “Alternative meats shouldn’t just be for the environment or animals or health, they should be superior compared to what they’re trying to compete with.”
Another possibility for an alternative to meat is… meat. This is not meat in the traditional sense, however. Scientists have discovered a way to cultivate animal cells into meat through induced cell replication. It shares the same characteristics as meat, but it was created in a lab as opposed to being raised for the slaughter.
For some, this may be a more ethical way of eating meat, as it removes cruelty from the equation. Apart from ethics, it also benefits the environment. A traditional cut of beef requires copious amounts of fertilizer, land, and water to grow. The lab-grown alternative only requires cow cells, a minuscule amount of water, and a small number of additional resources. As this potentially becomes more widespread, it could be a much cheaper alternative to traditional meat, since it costs far less to produce.
Alternative protein sources are only now beginning to experience a spike in popularity. Should this trend continue, we may find ourselves with a great deal of choice in the meat industry. With any luck, this will make the industry more ethical and sustainable. This revolution in new food sources is only just beginning, so keep an eye out.
Photo Credit Mx. Granger – https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90435930