Goodbye, meat! Hello, plant-based alternatives! A meat industry publication, Meat + Poultry, recently published their “Blockbuster News for 2017” article that features the publication’s top headlines and most-read stories of the past year and guess what? Plant-based meat alternatives made the list!
Meat + Poultry specifically calls out food technology companies such as Memphis Meats and Impossible Foods for their plant-based and lab-grown meats. Memphis Meats has already succeeded at producing a lab-cultured meatball and chicken nugget and the Impossible Burger, a plant-based “beef” patty from Impossible Foods has received rave reviews from meat-eaters and vegan alike.
Meat + Poultry goes on to note that, “As a growing number of retailers, foodservice operators, and even processors invest in the future of the technologies behind these new products, the future of meat alternatives beyond 2017 looks bright.” That’s right, a MEAT publication said that the future of meat alternatives looks bright!
Meat companies are definitely taking notice and are jumping in on the growing plant-based sector. Food giant Nestlé recently bought Sweet Earth Foods, a Californian-based company known for vegan meals and snacks made from plant-based proteins. Major beef supplier Cargill recently sold off the last of their cattle feedlots and is focusing on transitioning their meat department to more broadly focus on “proteins,” denoting the inclusion of plant-based proteins – they also made an investment in Memphis Meats. Canadian meat processor, Maple Leaf Foods acquired Lightlife Foods earlier this year and just recently made another acquisition into the plant-based food sector when they bought Field Roast, a plant-based company known for products such as tempeh, vegan sausages, and burgers.
This is promising considering we are reaching a time where the question of how we are going to feed a growing population that is set to reach nine billion by 2050 cannot be ignored. Demand for protein in the developed and developing world is at an all-time high, with the average person in the U.S. consuming 103 grams per day, around double the actual recommended amount. The animal agriculture system already covers over 45 percent of the world’s land mass, uses a majority of finite freshwater water resources, and is responsible for rampant air and water pollution – not to mention is the largest singular source of global greenhouse gas emissions. Even with all the resources that this industry uses, nearly one billion people still go hungry.
Thanks to growing awareness that meat is not the healthiest or the most sustainable source of protein, demand for alternative protein sources are at an all-time high. According to some estimates, the plant-based meat market is set to reach $5.2 billion by 2020 and could make up one-third of the market by 2050.
According to Nil Zacharias, Co-Founder of One Green Planet, “innovations in the plant-protein space have the power to transform food as we know it and write the story of the future of food.” Simply put, if we hope to feed the growing demand for protein, we need to move into the future with more plant-based options.
To learn more about the environmental impact of our food choices as well as trends and developments in the plant-based food space, check out our podcast #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias.
Image Source: Memphis Meats/Facebook