The World is Going Vegan “Without Realizing It”

The World is Going Vegan “Without Realizing It”

The demand for meat globally is rising fast and shows few signs of slowing. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization predicts that meat demand could grow by 60% by 2050. And yet, venture capitalists and other investors have never been more bullish about the alternative protein market – which includes meat and dairy substitutes that range from 3D printed meat – including vegan steak – to various kinds of milk made from an assortment of nuts.

On the face of it, these two bits of information seem contradictory, but one should remember that those numbers for 2050 are ‘predictions’ based on current trajectories. A lot can change between now and 2050, and those in the alternative protein market say the change is happening at lightning speed, albeit almost imperceptibly.

A speech given in December 2021 by Plant Based News founder Klaus Mitchell at Imperial College London was titled “The World Will Go Vegan Without Realizing It.”

-And Mitchell may very well be right.

In his talk, he notes that various car companies just a decade or so ago were fighting the adoption of electric vehicles. Now, these same companies have now declared that they will only make electric cars by 2040 (or some other specified date not that far away). In other words, once change gets snowballs, it can turn into an avalanche rather quickly.

A major factor that's contributing to veganism’s snowballing is not talked about as much as it should be. New high-tech meat substitutes are helping many realize that they don't need to become aesthetics and give up the tastes, flavors, and textures they love. Instead, all of these sensations – including the way meat smells and ‘cooks’ – can be recreated with science...and made with 100% natural, vegan ingredients.

If you’re thinking we're talking about one of those famous veggie burgers that got some excited a few years back, think again. These cutting-edge products are being created by startups (primarily based in Israel) that use 3D printing to recreate the closest approximation to animal protein that's ever been invented.

This verdict isn't ours but rather the words of those who have sampled it, from celebrity chefs to barbecue experts. Yes, barbecue experts are saying new high-tech 3D printed vegan meat is delicious and giving it scores of nines and 10s for overall meatiness.

How this ‘new meat’ is being produced involves a combination of technologies, including the aforementioned 3D printing as well as precision AI algorithms that help the printer layer these vegan meat products so that one section has ‘alternative fat’ while another section features ‘alternative muscle.’

This new technological approach is probably one of the biggest reasons why many substitutes currently on the market have not taken off in the way some had expected. Plant proteins are more globular in shape, while animal muscle protein generally is formed of long fibers. This means in a very simplified way, that to make plant-based meat, you need to turn plant proteins into what might be described as ‘string’ – exactly what's possible with a 3D printer.

The products that are about to hit your store shelves are successful recreations of animal protein – in a way that is likely to surprise many. This means that those who are already vegetarian and vegan will have more options, especially when making meals for groups with various dietary preferences, while meat eaters will get the opportunity to taste something that some writers have called “an entirely new species” of meat substitutes.

Should even a relatively small number of meat eaters decide 3D printed meat is good and begin to incorporate it into their diets, demand for animal protein could begin to fall precipitously.

Couple this with the fact that prices for animal protein are set to continue their upward trajectories (chicken, for example, might soon be as expensive as beef) as raising and producing animals for food becomes more expensive in the age of climate change, and ‘new meat’ could be cheaper than its animal ancestors faster than predicted.

Finally, let’s not forget about the social aspect. Over the past decade or so, veganism has moved into the mainstream, and is now arguably more than just socially's downright popular. People born after the year 2000 are now in their early twenties and grew up in the information age where knowledge is available at the click of a button.

Some of the things many of these younger people have discovered is the unsustainability of the meat industry, and its contributions to environmental problems – and they haven't been all that pleased to see the actual process of turning animals into meat either.

Now someone has stepped up and offered the world products that recreate all the positives of animal meat with none of the negatives – and with a pitch line like that, it's a pretty sure bet that huge chunks of people from all age demographics will begin choosing ‘new meat.’

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