Future Protein (MEAT)

Plant-based MEAT EP.1

The future of meat in the next 3 years (short-term future)

Do you like meat?

Do you enjoy the sizzling sound while you wait for a steak?

Will your mouth watering when you saw a juicy patty picture?

If your answer is yes, then, meat lovers, have you thought that maybe one day, in the future, the meat we love will be totally different.

Background

Do you know?

According to the United Nations (UN, 2017), as of February 2019, the total population of the world exceeds 7.71 billion people, and this number is continuing to grow each day. They predict that the global population will reach about 8.6 billion in 2030 and 9.8 billion in 2050.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the market demand for meat will rise by more than two-thirds during the next 40 years.

According to IPCC( The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ), about 14.5 per cent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions come from stock farming.

As our population grows, the demand for food is only going to grow. It is highly possible one day might come, where we don’t have enough space to cultivate animals, we don’t have enough grains and water to feed them. In the future, we might not have enough resources to get everyone to have meat.

So, the fact is raising livestock in the traditional production method 

  • are causing global warming, which have significant impact on our planet (rising sea level, frequent extreme weather condition) 
  • are hard to feed the large population in the future without expanding the quantity
  • are incredibly not sustainable

the population is growing on, and on, but the meat industry cannot supply this much people 

BBC addressed that expertises in the food industry estimated that meat prices could doubled in the next 5~7 years due to the gap of demand and supply.

It’s time for trying meat alternatives!

Shortly, the plant-based meat might become more popular not only because it is an excellent substitution to meat, but also the technology of making the not-meat product taste more like meat will be more mature.

Definition

Shurtleff and Avoyagi (2014) defined the meat alternative as the food that doesn’t contain meat but has a similar taste, flavour, visual appearance and most importantly, approximately equal nutritional value.

Look back to the History

Tofu is the earliest known meatless alternative, which was first appeared in China in the Western Han Dynasty (about B.C. 164).

The vegetarian feast for some festival of Buddhism is well-known in China, and most the fake meat dish was made from Tofu.

As a Chinese, I would love to recommend some of the meat-like food made with tofu. Here are some of my favourite Tofu snacks made with intentions to be like vegetable meat.

There are plenty of plant-based meat products on the market as the realm of vegans, but one of the unique leading technology companies, Beyond Meat, saw another potential of this plant-based meat, which is the future of protein food.

Now, let’s talk about the good things and bad things of plant-based meat.

Pros

  • sustainable and environmentally friendly

Those patties, or nuggets, or minces are made mainly with plant protein, vegetable oil and lots and lots of flavourings.

Beyond Meat, the company says a plant-based patty takes 99% less water and 93% less land to make than a beef burger and generates 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions. And other biotech companies, like Impossible Foods, all have declared that their meat substitute is more environment-friendly than tradition stock farming.

  • Taking less meat and more plant is good for your health

Studies show that plant-based diet can deduct the risks from being overweight (heart disease, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer and so on).  

In fact, one of the replies from my Reddit question says he will have those vegetarian type of ‘faux meat’ to help himself to be healthier.

Cons:

  • The taste is not good enough

I personally think the strong flavour of those fake meat can count to one of the negativeness. They do not taste exactly like real meat. I have cooked two patties for myself, and I think the product is literally covered with too much seasoning in order to achieve the meat flavour.  

Since the technology companies, like Beyond Meat, attempt to attract not only vegan’s attention, but also win our meat lover’s heart, they should pay more attention on how to make the product taste better and meaty. I think that is the primary task they should tackle down if they want to change the way people taking protein in the future.

  • They are more expensive than real meat.

Another thing that could improve is about the price, to be honest, for now, spending $12 Australia Dollar on two burger patties is a lot. But I think the cost and selling price will gradually go down when the technology becomes more mature.

My prediction of the protein (meat) food in 3 years:

I’m actually holding a very positive attitude toward those cutting-edge plant-based faux meat. I think the taste will be fixed and improved as long as they realise that is what consumers are expecting. I mean, they are making food, so the taste and aroma play a significant role.

However, I think it will be very difficult to reach the meat texture; for example, there is a long way to go to make the fake beef patties have that sense of the chewable texture of beef fibres.

video prediction of meat in 3 years (plant-based patties)

If you are interested in the plant-based meat, please join us on AskReddit:

References:

Click to access WPP2017_KeyFindings.pdf

https://culturedbeef.org/what-cultured-meat

https://www.cgiar.org/news-events/news/fao-common-flawed-comparisons-greenhouse-gas-emissions-livestock-transport/

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-18813075

http://www.soyinfocenter.com/books/179

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/life/2011-02/12/content_11996892.htm

https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/vegan-beyond-burger-more-sustainable-beef

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-risks-overweight

https://www.unileverfoodsolutions.us/chef-inspiration/wholesome-eating/meat-alternatives.html

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