Is Artificial Meat The New Diet Of The Future?
Artificial meat has been on the pipeline in hopes of lessening the rapid unsustainability of land, water, and greenhouse emissions involved in meat production. Will such meat end the slaughter of animals? Will it satisfy the taste buds of the human race?
January 29, 2019
From fried chicken to steak and hamburgers, we all love meat! Simply because it is delicious.
Besides the taste, meat provides protein and nutrients for the body to function.
It's essential for any healthy diet as it helps build and repair muscles. It also keeps our hair, bones, skin, and blood healthy.
However, the demand for meat is not going away as the human population doubled in the last decades.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the need for meat is expected to rise to 455 million tons in the year 2050.
Our excessive consumption of meat can't continue as it makes it unsustainable for the planet.
So the question is, how will the generation of tomorrow satisfy their craving for meat?
Yes! It is part of our nature to like meat, but we have become so habituated to eating animals that we did not see the adverse effects.
We failed to see that farming and domesticating pose a threat to our health and environment.
Luckily, in the year 2013, a Dutch pharmacologist named Dr. Mark Post created the first artificial burger. The patty was made from bovine stem cells grown from a lab.
The only downside here is that the patty took two years and $330,000 to create it. Today, due to many investors, the production cost to make cultured meat went as low as $10.
Many companies and personalities that have invested believe that this can change how we consume meat.
On the contrary, other companies go for a different approach, called cellular agriculture. This process results in a type of meat coined as "cultured meat," "vitro meat," or "synthetic meat."
It isn't any different from conventional ones. The only difference here is that you don't have to kill the animal.
It is wherein the cells are grown in an artificial body that takes up to 9 weeks to develop into a chunk of edible meat.
So why do we love meat so much?
The taste is one of a kind!
Well, who wouldn't want to enjoy a Big Mac? While other foods seem appealing, it is evident that meat has worked its way to the main course.
Meat is jam-packed with calories, minerals, fats, proteins, and vitamins. This includes vitamin B12 and iron, the iron which is only found in animals called "Heme."
It is a crucial component that brings to the meat its distinct taste; this is what makes meat taste like meat.
Should you give up on meat for good?
Well, we encourage it, but the answer to this question relies on you.
But did you know that if you convert your diet, you can contribute a significant impact to the planet?
You can choose to be a Vegan, Vegetarian, a Pescatarian, or a Flexitarian. These diets also bring about many benefits not only to your health but also in easing resources used in meat production.
On the other side of the coin, picture a world where you do not need to kill an animal but still able to eat meat? That is where the artificial kind comes in.
The main idea of this developing technology is to stop animal suffering and keep our morals in place. This alternative can have a significant impact on our planet.
How is artificial meat made?
Synthetic meat is grown through muscle tissue from animal stem cells in a lab.
The process requires adding a collagen matrix taken from living or dead animals. The stem cells harvested will now multiply into strips of skeletal muscle grown in a lab.
A circulatory system is also needed to make cultured meat. This causes oxygen and nutrients to circulate and remove metabolic waste.
What are its benefits?
- It will replace factory farming and increase the demand for small-scale agriculture.
- It could also pave the way for a new profitable industry to prosper.
- It will reduce greenhouse emissions and deforestation of land.
- It will help protect endangered species. It will decrease the global trade of meat from these animals.
- It will lessen the energy we use up to 7% to 45%. It will also lower land use to 99%, and 82% to 96% lower water usage out of 1000 kilograms of cultured meat.
- Cultured meat can be engineered to have significant benefits for health and nutrition. How? By modifying the essential amino acids and fat.
- This will increase nutrients and surpass what natural meat has to offer. Cultured meat can also decrease saturated fat and reduce the risks of chronic diseases.
- It is cheaper than traditional farming. This can lighten nutritional deficiencies in places that face food scarcity.
- It will also help in upkeeping the physical and mental development of children.
- Artificial meat could improve food safety by decreasing animal-borne diseases and pathogens. Such outbreaks like Salmonella and E. coli can be permanently removed.
- It can also reduce illnesses associated with livestock farming that humans can get. This includes swine flu, avian flu, and mad cow disease.
- Synthetic meat could also reduce the need for chemicals. This includes pesticides, heavy metals, fungicides, melamine, anabolic agents, and antibiotics.
Cons of Artificial Meat
- It can cost many people their jobs and livelihood.
- Engineered meat does not totally end animal suffering. Still, concerned agencies are trying to replace these animal tissues with plant sources.
Where do you stand?
Today, many consumers continue to choose plant-based meat substitutes for tons of reasons. These include environmental concerns, preferences, and ethics.
The lower the price, the more consumer acceptability it denotes.
According to researchers from the College of Agriculture and Marine Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University State, the reason for synthetic meat to be widely accepted is that it has to go beyond conventional meat.
They also include that flavor, color, aroma, texture, and tenderness plays an important role.
Some analysts also say that most people will not support vitro meat because it is not appealing to them.
This is also because natural products are embedded in consumer desire. This makes cultured meat undesirable.
Will you or will you not?
Synthetic meat will soon flock to the market in 10 to 20 years. And the only way for it to be celebrated by the masses is if it exceeds the taste of conventional meat.
In the end, the future will tell if synthetic meat will exceed our expectations.
References and Citations
- Meat Market Review - Overview of global meat market developments in 2018*. (2019, March). Retrieved December 30, 2019, from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation:
- 7 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD STOP EATING MEAT IMMEDIATELY*. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 31, 2019, from Independent:
- A Vegetarian Diet and Its Effect On Your Mood*. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 31, 2019, from Bigthink.com:
- Cultured meat in western media: The disproportionate coverage of vegetarian reactions, demographic realities, and implications for cultured meat marketing*. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 31, 2019, from Sciencedirect.com:
- Lab-Grown Meat: Exploring Potential Benefits and Challenges of Cellular Agriculture*. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 31, 2019, from Food and Nutrition:
- The artificial meat factory – the science of your synthetic supper*. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 31, 2019, from Sciencefocus.com:
- What makes a hamburger and other cooked meat so enticing to humans? *(n.d.). Retrieved 12 31, 2019, from The Washington Post: