Recently I was invited to undertake some research and present my findings in a keynote at the Bayer CropScience AgVocacy Forum. I spoke on the future of agriculture, or what I can FARMER 3.0. I wanted to provide this Ag Briefing – The Future of Meat to further the discussion.
New world, new ‘meat’
In my research, I referenced developments in plant-based ‘meat’ and growing protein from the cells of animals without raising or slaughtering them. Now, this is sometimes referred to as ‘cultured meat’, and more controversially ‘clean meat’.
Some key research I presented was as follows:
If everyone in the world became vegan by 2050, food-related carbon emissions would be cut 70%…And, even if everyone simply ate less meat than projected, emissions could drop nearly 30%. Taken from the ‘Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change’ study by PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Don’t call it ‘clean meat’
But, it was the claims that ‘meat grown using tissue engineering techniques, so-called ‘cultured meat’, would generate up to 96% lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventionally produced meat’ that really shook things up. This analysis, carried out by scientists at Oxford University and the University of Amsterdam, estimates that cultured meat would require 7-45% less energy to produce than the same volume of pork, sheep or beef. It would require more energy to produce than poultry but only a fraction of the land area and water needed to rear chickens. A report of the team’s research is published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
They are very careful not to use the term ‘clean meat’. When talking about the future of meat many journalists have used that term. At the Bayer CropScience AgVocacy Forum it became the HOT TOPIC.
Kevin Kester, Past President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, challenged the term ‘clean meat’ and spoke out for the cattle industry during Q & A. It was a lively discussion and showed that the U.S. Beef industry certainly has opinions on this future. See the interview with American Ag Network below:
I was thankful to have the chance to sit down with Kevin at the event later to discuss this and get a deeper understanding and reassure him that I was quoting an analyst vs. promoting the term ‘clean meat’ and the claims. It’s a reference point, and a valid one at this stage of development. I loved the chat with Kevin, and getting closer to the ag industry gives so many addition perspective on the disrupting technologies I talk about. I also gave around 20 interviews on the future of meat that day.
The Future of Meat?
A future where there is a choice of what kind of protein we eat is very real. In the next 10 to 20 years we are not likely to see a wholesale replacement of the current meat industry, but disruption is coming.
From the studies I have read, it indicates the process to cultivate meat from cells will be less intensive on natural resources (water and grain) and less pollutant (animal manure, processing and waste from the slaughter) by the nature of its process used. This is a good thing.
Then, like all exponential technologies, we will see the cultured meat industry scale and the tech (and ag) companies behind it disrupt the market greatly.
See some of Nikolas’ interviews on agriculture here:
Nikolas Badminton is the CEO of EXPONENTIAL MINDS and an award-winning, dynamic and innovative Futurist Speaker whose experience and depth of knowledge is shared through an awe-inspiring vision of the future for your customers, your company and your industry. Contact Nikolas to see your future today.