More bad news for the animal agriculture industry! Foodnavigator reports that the CEO of a London-based investment banking firm that provides advice to growth-focused companies, Aquaa Partners, Paul Cuatrecasas thinks that lab-grown meat is a big threat to the animal agriculture industry.

Specifically, Cuatrecasas believes that the companies that grow animal feed that will face the greatest burden from lab-grown meat. “Executives at feed companies need to take this risk seriously,” Cuatrecasas says. “Even if they do not believe this future will actually come to pass, they need to admit it is feasible.” The investment banker believes there is increasing evidence that the future of food will be animal-free and he says it’s just a question of when not if.

Companies like Memphis Meats and Supermeat are setting out to create meat – without slaughtering a single animal, but as we shared just last month, food technology company Hampton Creek, makers of “Just Mayo” have entered the clean meat game, promising lab-grown meat to hit shelves just next year.

Memphis Meats has already succeeded at producing a lab-cultured meatball and chicken nugget, but they estimate it will take another four years until they’re ready to sell a product commercially. Given the speed at which Hampton Creek plans to get their product to market, this could be a major game changer for the clean meat sector.

And it seems like Cuatercasas thinks so too, believing that Hampton Creek is going to set off a chain reaction for other companies to bring their products to market as soon as possible. Cuatercasas believes that lab grown meat will make up a significant portion of people’s diets within just 10 to 15 years and urges animal feed companies to stay relevant.

“Faced with the choice between two types of meats: one that is cheaper, cleaner, and more environmentally friendly, and the other—which is not. I cannot see traditional meat winning out long term,” Cuatrecasas says. Lab grown meat uses 99 percent less land, emits 96 percent fewer greenhouse gases, consumes 96 percent less water and uses 45 percent less energy, according to a joint study by the Universities of Oxford and Amsterdam. 

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, lab-grown meat offers a practical solution. 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.

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 the recent episode of #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias, Bruce Friedrich, the Executive Director of the Good Food Institute (GFI) and founding partner of New Crop Capital, explains exactly how it can be done.

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. 

Lead image source: Memphis Meats/Facebook