Just recently, we shared the exciting news that major beef supplier and global food conglomerate, Cargill, along with Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and other business giants invested $17 million in Memphis Meats, a San Franciso-based clean meat company. Why? Well, the business tycoons understand that our global focus on producing cheap meat, dairy, and other animal products has put the planet in an incredibly difficult spot. For these leaders, the solution to meeting our growing protein needs, sustainably, lies within lab-grown, cultured “clean” meat.

Memphis Meats has already succeeded at producing a lab-cultured meatball and chicken nugget. Now with this new investment, the company plans to scale up their clean meat production, as well as reduce production costs to levels comparable, or even below, conventional meat costs. And just how soon can we expect a meat-free world? Only 30 years, according to billionaire Richard Branson.

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In an email response to Bloomberg News about the recent Memphis Meats investment, Branson said, “I believe that in 30 years or so we will no longer need to kill any animals and that all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone.”

 

And hey, Branson certainly knows a thing or two about business trends! Considering that The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions while other organizations like the Worldwatch Institute have estimated it could be as much as 51 percent. Additionally, industrialized animal agriculture currently occupies around 50 percent of the world’s arable land and uses a majority of our freshwater stores.  Nearly one billion people suffering from hunger across the globe and as the population continues to mount to 9.7 billion by 2050, we simply won’t be able to sustain more people eating a diet high in animal products.

The question of how we’re going to meet the protein needs of the planet is rapidly becoming the biggest challenge of our time. It’s no secret that the developed world is obsessed with protein, with the average person in the U.S. consuming 103 grams per day, around double the actual recommended amount, two-thirds of which comes from animal sources. Naturally, the first step to building a more sustainable food system starts with consumers eating less meat and dairy – but there is a large percent of the population that will likely never give up their bacon cheeseburgers, which is where lab grown, or cultured meat can fill in the gaps.

While we wait for lab-grown meat to hit the shelves, you can learn more about how you can use your food choices for the benefit of the environment and animals, by joining One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet movement. To find out more about companies in the cultured meat space who are pioneering the future of food, click here.

Have questions about how lab-grown meat is being made and how it is that a fully lab-produced product could make it to grocery store shelves in just a years time? Check out these recent episodes of the  #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast:


Lead image source: David Shankbone/Flickr