Our Planet is no longer able to sustain production and the intensive consumption of meat to which man has adapted over the years. Valid solutions come from the world of technology and innovation, as in the case of synthetic meat. A product that, according to an analysis by the international management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, could come to have a certain weight in the food industry and radically influence our tables. By 2030, the business could be worth around $ 25 billion.
Today the world of the so-called meat-non-meat is developing rapidly in the field of research, which is why it is attracting more and more investments: according to the estimates of McKinsey analysts, about 350 million dollars during the year of the pandemic by big players like Tyson and Nutreco, international companies in the animal protein sector, and financial holdings such as Temasek and SoftBank. The startups operating in the sector are almost one hundred and the same Leonardo Dicaprio, the Oscar-winning actor who has long been a sustainable development activist, recently invested in Aleph Farms and Mosa Meat, two companies – the first Israeli and the second Swedish – engaged in the production of meat derived from modified bovine cells.
The results of the numerous investments are evident. Various have been tried techniques to give synthetic steaks and hamburgers the same smells, flavors and texture of their natural counterparts. First the use of vegetable proteins, then the cultivation of animal proteins in the laboratory and finally the use of 3D printing. Not only that, even the production costs and therefore prices are changing significantly and rapidly. In 2013, the first burger made from lab-grown paper cost as much as $ 300,000. Just three years later, in 2016, meatballs created by Memphis Meat were worth $ 44,000 a kg. Earlier this year, Future Meat Technologies announced it had made a 160-gram chicken breast for just $ 4.
The occupational and environmental impact
In short, there is no doubt that the synthetic meat industry is making great strides. Again according to McKinsey’s estimates, it is a supply chain that can also generate many jobs. To produce 500,000 tons of synthetic proteins, 5,000 employees are needed, a number not so far from the amount of workers employed in the production of traditional meat. Regarding its environmental impact, no research has yet been able to establish the degree of sustainability of the industry, precisely because the methods are varied. It is certain, however, that – in addition to constituting a valid alternative to intensive farming – saving CO2 emissions it is ten times that of red meat production.