Researchers have discovered haem, a plant molecule which helps to give roasted meat its characteristic flavour. This already forms the basis for selling vegetarian hamburgers in the USA which are barely distinguishable from the original version made of beef.
Our hunger for meat is damaging us and the environment. Medical studies have shown that many cancers are attributable to the excessive consumption of red meat. And what’s more, the rearing of cattle is one of the main drivers of climate change. It accounts for more greenhouse gases than all of the world’s cars, lorries, railways and ships put together. Meat production is an important starting point in the fight against global warming.
… are needed to produce a kilogram of beef. But only 1,600 litres are needed to make the same quantity of wheat or bread. 45 percent of available agricultural land in the world is now used for rearing cattle or for animal feed. This competes with the cultivation of cereals for end consumers, which has a much greater nutritional potential.
By 2050 the world’s population is expected to total ten billion people. Because of this, and due to changing eating habits, by then about 70 percent more food will have to be produced than is currently the case.
In July 2016 the first “Impossible Burger” came onto the US market. It smells, tastes and looks just like conventional beef, but it’s purely plant based and it has a very good Globalance Footprint®: 95 percent less land and 74 percent less water are consumed, and greenhouse gas emissions are 87 percent lower than in the case of ’real’ beef.
Future movers are companies which recognise megatrends, and align their business models according to them. One such future mover is Impossible Foods. The company was founded in California in 2011, and it’s the father of the “Impossible Burger” and other vegetable-based meat substitute products.
Another future mover is Memphis Meats, a Silicon Valley start-up. Stem cells are used in a bioreactor to grow beef, pork and chicken. It currently takes 21 days to produce 500 grams – and it costs 18,000 US dollars. Memphis Meats intends to achieve production at competitive prices by 2021. We’ll follow its progress.
(Image: Memphis Meats)