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FUTURE LAB MEAT FOR THE MASSES? Creator Says You Better Get Used To It

As the world's population grows, our ever-increasing appetite for meat is putting heavy strains on the environment and exacerbating climate change. The global meat industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined. But with demand unlikely to diminish anytime soon, what if science could make it possible to still eat meat without destroying the planet? Global meat consumption has quadrupled since the 1960's. In 35 years, with the world's population projected to grow from seven to 10 billion, we'll be eating 70 percent more of it than we do today. Scientists and industry analysts agree it will be impossible to meet future demand with current production methods already stretched to capacity. Factory farming of livestock requires large amounts of increasingly scarce water and land resources. Clearing forests for grazing also compounds the impact on climate change by removing natural carbon sinks. As in many other industries, technology is beginning to disrupt the meat industry, perhaps even more than its impact on agriculture in general. And when technology comes in, you can expect that the industry will be upended, as is happening, for example in banks (blockchain), retail (e-commerce), transportation (electric cars), telecommunication (smartphone) and so on. This seems to be a hot area for venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, and I am indebted to KQED Forum (Faux Shrimp and Veggie Burgers That Bleed: The Future of Fake Meat) and the San Francisco Chronicle (What is meat?) for information. Fake food, synthetic food, plant-based food Рcall it what you like Рis sending a frisson of fear through the farming world. No one knows quite what its effect will be, but they know it can't be good for the industries that underpin our national wealth. We are warned not to be blas̩, to remember what happened to wool, to beef up (literally) our international meat marketing, to go organic, that the tide is turning against farming livestock on health, environmental and welfare grounds, and to take note of powerful synthetic food investors as Richard Branson Blythman sums up: "So that's the Impossible Burger: water, protein powders, glues, factory flavourings, flavour enhancers, synthetic vitamins Рall signifiers of low-grade, ultra-processed food Рand a novel ingredient that has no proven track record of safety." Impossible Foods produces ground beef, which is essentially impossible to tell from the real thing; and eventually, they expect to move towards steak, chicken, pork, lamb and fish, but getting the texture and feel of slabs of meat Beef Beefburger Science Professor Muscle Cow animal "Organic Beef" food supermarket "organic food" people world supplies 2017 2018 university "cheap food" meat steak restaurant resources water land farming green "greenhouse gas" carbon "carbon neutral" "food science" "next gen" "next generation" habit eat chef burger will take time and effort. Today, they are able to produce ground beef at prices that enable their customer restaurants to sell the burger at $10-$15, as compared to a standard burger at, maybe, $5-$7. With scale, they expect to bring the price down. Experts say new ways of producing meat are needed to satisfy growing carnivorous appetites without exhausting resources. By 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organization predicts global meat consumption will double as more people in developing countries can afford it. Raising animals destined for the dinner table takes up about 70% of all agricultural land.

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