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By 2040, 60% of ‘meat’ won’t come from dead animals

Experts say two emerging meat alternatives will challenge the conventional meat industry.


ROBYN BECK/Contributor
  • "Novel vegan meat alternatives" and cultured meat will likely become competitors to traditional meat products, the report says.
  • The report was conducted by the consulting firm A.T. Kearney and was based on expert interviews.
  • Cultured meat isn't yet on the market, but could be by 2021.


A new report predicts that 60 percent of the meat people eat in 2040 won't come from dead animals, but rather from plant-based substitutes and cultured meat. "The large-scale livestock industry is viewed by many as an unnecessary evil," the report states, adding later: "With the advantages of novel vegan meat replacements and cultured meat over conventionally produced meat, it is only a matter of time before they capture a substantial market share."

The report — conducted by the consulting firm A.T. Kearney, and based on expert interviews — found that "classic vegan and vegetarian meat replacements as well as insect-based meat alternatives" probably won't disrupt the $1,000 billion conventional meat industry.

What could? The report identifies two candidates: novel vegan meat replacements, like the Impossible Burger, and cultured meat, which is grown in a lab and doesn't require killing animals. These unconventional meat alternatives have market potential because they taste similar to conventional meat. What's more, both are better for the environment than the conventional meat industry, whose supply chain — from feed production to methane emissions to meat processing — requires massive amounts of energy, and it's unlikely to become any more efficient.

So, for carnivores concerned about the environment, cultured meat could be a way to finally enjoy guilt-free meat. Most consumers seem up for giving it a shot. "Novel vegan meat replacements are marketable due to the trend toward semi-vegetarianism and their sophisticated sensory profile," the report states.

Interestingly, this also applies to cultured meat. In recent surveys, most respondents in Western countries are willing to taste cultured meat and half of them are willing to buy it regularly. Similar studies show that people in India and China are particularly interested in cultured meat. Crucial for consumer acceptance is to educate society to point out the benefits of cultured meat.

Cultured meat will likely hit markets by 2021, experts say. The meat alternative wields great potential because it requires relatively little arable land and water, and because the production process will only become more efficient as the industry grows in scale.

Meat alternatives offer hope for a looming problem: How are we going to feed the world's growing population, which is expected to soar from 7.6 billion in 2018 to 10 billion in 2050? Whatever the answer, it's clear that the inefficiency of the conventional meat industry is a major obstacle, considering more than half of global agricultural production is used to feed livestock, not people.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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The brains of two genetically edited babies born last year in China might have enhanced memory and cognition, but that doesn't mean the scientific community is pleased.

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  • He deleted a gene called CCR5, which allows humans to contract HIV, the virus which causes AIDS.
  • In addition to blocking AIDS, deleting this gene might also have positive effects on memory and cognition. Still, virtually all scientists say we're not ready to use gene-editing technology on babies.
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Dinosaur bone? Meteorite? These men's wedding bands are a real break from boredom.

Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.

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  • Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
  • Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
  • The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
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What if Middle-earth was in Pakistan?

Iranian Tolkien scholar finds intriguing parallels between subcontinental geography and famous map of Middle-earth.

Could this former river island in the Indus have inspired Tolkien to create Cair Andros, the ship-shaped island in the Anduin river?

Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission
Strange Maps
  • J.R.R. Tolkien hinted that his stories are set in a really ancient version of Europe.
  • But a fantasy realm can be inspired by a variety of places; and perhaps so is Tolkien's world.
  • These intriguing similarities with Asian topography show that it may be time to 'decolonise' Middle-earth.
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Giant whale sharks have teeth on their eyeballs

The ocean's largest shark relies on vision more than previously believed.

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