Fake meat may be the sustainable solution to the food industry

  • Companies are creating “fake meat” to help dial back on meat consumption.
  • Increased fake meat sales can be traced to flexitarians, people who seek protein alternatives. In the US, about 6% of people consider themselves vegan.
  • Sustainability is another reason for alternative meat’s popularity. Agriculture accounts for about a third of greenhouse gases. Half of those emissions come from just livestock.

Following is a transcript of the video.

There’s a burger fight going on in the supermarkets, and cows are watching from the sidelines.

Alternative meat sales have increased across the globe. The market is set to reach $US6.3 billion in revenue by 2023. Big meat brands are trying to get a slice of the pie.

Tyson Foods, the largest meat producer in the US, was part of a $US55 million round of investment in Beyond Meat, a company that makes meat-free meats for consumers.

The reason for all this growth can be traced to flexitarians, people who seek protein alternatives. In the US, about six per cent of people consider themselves vegan. In 2014, it was only 1%.

The business is booming globally. Europe has seen an increase in meat substitute sales by 451% in just under four years.

Another reason is sustainability. Agriculture today accounts for about a third of greenhouse gases. Half of those emissions come from livestock alone.

Alternative meat companies are creating products to help dial back on meat consumption. By doing so, they are changing how we see meat.

“We use a system that applies heating, cooling, and pressure to align plant-proteins in the same fibrous structures that you’d find in animal proteins,” explained Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown. “We combine this process with ingredients that mimic the composition of animal-based meat, like plant-based proteins, fats, and minerals.”

Alternative meat options are taking over the restaurant industry, too. Homegrown Smoker in Portland has an entirely vegan barbecue menu.

With all these new types of alternatives popping up, the future of the meat packing industry is possibly not going anywhere.

Although the fake meat business is growing, the size of the US meat industry is still immense. The meat industry costs the US up to $US289 billion a year. By 2050, that number could be as high as $US1.6 trillion.

But as the flexitarian demographic increases around the world, more animals will view this match from outside the ring.

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