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

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

Impossible burger

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.

3,000-pound Triceratops skull unearthed in South Dakota

"You dream about these kinds of moments when you're a kid," said lead paleontologist David Schmidt.

Excavation of a triceratops skull in South Dakota.

Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College
Surprising Science
  • The triceratops skull was first discovered in 2019, but was excavated over the summer of 2020.
  • It was discovered in the South Dakota Badlands, an area where the Triceratops roamed some 66 million years ago.
  • Studying dinosaurs helps scientists better understand the evolution of all life on Earth.
Keep reading Show less

A new franchising model offers business opportunities to those who need it most

A socially minded franchise model makes money while improving society.

Freethink
Technology & Innovation
  • A social enterprise in California makes their franchises affordable with low interest loans and guaranteed salaries.
  • The loans are backed by charitable foundations.
  • If scaled up, the model could support tens of thousands of entrepreneurs who are currently financially incapable of entering franchise agreements.
Keep reading Show less

Gamification: can video games change our money habits?

Fintech companies are using elements of video games to make personal finance more fun. But does it work, and what are the risks?

Pixel art scene

Mind & Brain
  • Gamification is the process of incorporating elements of video games into a business, organization, or system, with the goal of boosting engagement or performance.
  • Gamified personal finance apps aim to help people make better financial decisions, often by redirecting destructive financial behaviors (like playing the lottery) toward positive outcomes.
  • Still, gamification has its risks, and scientists are still working to understand how gamification affects our financial behavior.
Keep reading Show less
Sponsored by Million Stories

Want to save more money? Start playing video games.

Playing video games could help you make better decisions about money.

Quantcast