By 2050, the global population is projected to reach almost 10 billion people, and meat production is expected to double. At the current rate, it may be impossible to meet this increase in food demand, as land and other natural resources will be pushed to the limit.
Current factory farming methods for meat production already put a substantial strain on our limited land, water, and air resources. Imagine when the demand doubles! The growing gap between future demand and current meat production is fomenting an increasing need for alternative, sustainable protein sources. We believe cultured meat, also called “clean meat,” may prove a solution to this growing problem.
Cultured meat, created from ethically-harvested animal cells, not only eliminates the need to slaughter any animals, it’s also more environmentally friendly and sustainable. According to Environmental Science & Technology cultured meat would take up to 45 percent less energy, 96 percent less water, and would reduce greenhouse emissions by as much as 96 percent compared to conventional animal farming.
The potential to collect cells from a small number of animals, without incurring any harm unto the animal, gives rise to the possibility of considerably higher returns than traditional agriculture. From an economic perspective, the alternative protein industry – which spans from vegan and vegetarian options, to real cultured meat—is experiencing tremendous growth. In 2020, cultured meat companies disclosed raising $366 million. Since 2016, more than $500 million dollars has been invested in lab-grown meat. According to BIS Research, the cultured meat industry is expected to reach $94.54 billion by 2030.
Although still in its infancy, lab grown meat is poised to disrupt the traditional agricultural industry as the alternative protein industry captures greater market share. A recent market research report released by A.T. Kearney, predicted cultured meat will make up 35% of the global meat market in the next 20 years.
Consumers have expressed a willingness to try cultured meat, as they seek more sustainable options.
The challenge of meeting the protein needs of future generations sustainably is daunting but achievable if the agricultural industry thinks differently. The new wave of alternative proteins and the vision of what they can deliver in the future provide an exciting set of options that can help with this transformation.