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Future of Meat Industry – Plant-based produce

Plant-based and cell-based meat is the future of meat industry. It is a more sustainable, highly efficient, and only solution to all the current problems in this industry. Plant-based and cell-based meat produced significantly less amount of greenhouse gases, utilizes less energy,  very less water, and even less land than the ongoing meat production.

Future of the meat industry is solely getting focused on plant based products like clean meat, combination meat, cultured meat,etc,.  Also, trends show that the demand for plant based meat, eggs and dairy has grown rapidly to 31% from the year 2017 to 2019.  The overall increase in demand fr meat is grown by 5% 

Current scenario of Meat Industry

You will be surprised to know that human beings, the most intelligent organisms on the planet produce their food in the most inefficient and unsustainable manner. Yes, I’m talking about the current meat industry. The demand for meat is increasing day by day with the increasing population.

With increasing average income, people are trying to copy western culture by including more meat in their diets. Also, some religious and cultural practices promote meat consumption. But with the current production practices, it is impossible to meet this demand in the coming years. More than half of the agricultural land is devoted to livestock production and only around 23% for growing crops.

The Need for Plant-based Meat 

Do you know that a chicken can only provide 1 kcal of output for 9 kcal of feed it consumes? Isn’t it alarming?

Not only it is efficient in the terms of output it gives but the waste produced by the animal, greenhouse gasses, energy consumption during processing, and water required during the production process causes enormous environmental damage.

Besides inedible parts of the animal(skeleton for example) are thrown away. Eventually, more waste is produced than the utilizable product. Meat production is one of the top threats to environmental damage currently and if this method of production continues soon there will be food insecurity and large scale environmental damage because this way we will never be able to fulfil the growing demand.

People consume meat for various reasons. Some consume for protein, some for taste, texture, and some for cultural reasons. Meat is carbohydrates, amino acids, and lipids in a  specific combination that gives its flavour and texture. Even plants have all these components, we just need to correctly identify and combine different ingredients in a perfect ratio to attain the same taste and mouthfeel. This is exactly what we call plant-based meat.

Soybean-based Meat Replacer

Soybean is one of the oldest plant-based meat replacers. But there are many other sources of protein coming up like pea, moong, lupin, etc.

We need to extract different amino acids and lipids from these potential sources of protein. These can be processed and made into the required form and texture using binders.

Flavour can be enhanced using many flavouring substances and off-flavours, for example, the beany flavour from soy can be masked using chemical methods. Fats can be encapsulated and incorporated into these products to give the right flavour and mouth feel while eating.

There is a huge potential in the plant-based meat industry because we have a wide range of protein sources yet to be discovered and to be utilized in a better way. Some people refuse to eat plant-based products. This can be due to cultural reasons. We have another emerging technology for these people. I am talking about clean meat or so-called cultured meat.

Future of Meat Industry is Clean Meat

Clean meat is a meat that is produced by animal cells itself. Yes, animal cells that can be extracted without killing the animal are then allowed to grow in a culture medium providing them with the necessary nutrients and environmental conditions in labs.

Isn’t it amazing to know that meat can be produced without having to slaughter the actual animal? This is possible because of biotechnology. This method does not produce any animal waste because the meat is produced in the form of tissues. Only the required body parts are produced according to the market demand that can be produced. Thus reducing waste and loss.

Another major issue in the current meat industry is the use of tremendous amounts of antibiotics that are fed to these animals. 

Bacteria within the animals’ bodies become resistant to antibiotics. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause zoonotic diseases like rabies and many more. This will not be in the case of cell-based meat. Antibiotics are not used here. One of the reasons why cultured or cell-based meat is called clean meat is the absence of antibiotics and microorganisms (maintaining sterile conditions).

Expansion of the plant-based meat market

The expansion of the plant-based meat market came about for several reasons, including the move to bio mimicry. This approach to producing plant-based meat really only began in 2012 with the launch of Beyond Meat’s chicken strips, and it really took off with the 2016 launch of the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger, both of which have succeeded in mainstream fast-food outlets. After trying Beyond Meat’s plant-based chicken in 2013, Bill Gates said: “What I was experiencing was more than a clever meat substitute. It was a taste of the future of food.”

The future is fast-arriving, with major food companies and protein producers, such as Tyson and Nestlé, making big moves into plantbased food, a flurry of startup and investor activity, and accelerating plantbased food retail and foodservice sales in 2019.

Plant-based and Cell-based Difference

Plant-based and cell-based meat is the future of the meat industry which is a more sustainable, highly efficient, and only solution to all the current problems in this industry.

Although using these technologies have their challenges which need to be faced. Plant-based and cell-based meat produced significantly less amount of greenhouse gases, utilizes less energy,  very less water, and even less land than the ongoing meat production.

Along with plant-based and cell-based meat we see plant-based and cell-based seafood, plant-based egg, and dairy products that are coming up into the market. Impossible burger, Beyond meat (plant-based companies), and Memphis meat (cell-based company) are the major companies leading the market. Many other companies are also showing up.

Plant-based and cell-based meat production is thus economically and environmentally feasible. There are a lot of opportunities waiting in this industry to be grabbed and an enormous amount of research needs to be done which will lead to a better future of the industry.

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