Current meat production is unsustainableProblem
Plant-based meat is more sustainable and resource efficientSolution
Alternative proteins as a standard consumer choiceImpact
We can modernise meat production by making plant-based meat and growing meat from cells
Traditional meat production is a major driver of climate change, environmental degradation and antibiotic-resistant disease. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) expects global consumption of meat per person to increase by 40 per cent by 2050 when compared to 2010 (in emerging countries this prediction rises to 70 percent1. This will have catastrophic consequences for animals, climate, environment and food security.
In addition, the global livestock industry is already responsible for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of the destruction of rainforest2. This exacerbates global water scarcity, pollutes groundwater and wipes out large regions of ocean life. Alongside these effects, the livestock industry also encourages emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens through excessive and unnecessary use of antibiotics.
Thanks to new biotechnology, it is now possible to produce meat from plants or synthesise it from cells more sustainably and more efficiently. These methods reduce climate change, environmental degradation and avoid the use of antibiotics. Progress can be achieved by altering the default choices available in the market rather than trying to personally convince each individual to change their habits.
According to The Good Food Institute (GFI), alternative products must be on par with conventional meat in terms of taste, price and availability if they are to be accepted by a large proportion of the population. Promising products are:
The components and molecules that control flavour in meat are examined at a molecular level and replaced by plant substances that mimic these characteristics.
Using a sample of animal cells the desired meat or fish tissues are cultured in a nutrient medium. This results in cultured meat that is chemically identical to conventional meat with only a fraction of the negative impact.
The GFI supports start-ups, companies and scientists to accelerate the development and introduction of such competitive alternative products. Once these exist, it will be easier to enforce stricter animal welfare laws.
A strong legal framework provides security for the development of new technologies such as cultured meat. It can also prevent ‘censorship legislation’ from giving the conventional meat industry a disproportionate competitive advantage.
A whole new way of producing delicious meat
Since its foundation in 2015, The GFI has engaged with meat producers, restaurant chains, supermarkets and caterers and has advised more than 200 companies. The GFI supports food companies such as Tyson Foods in developing plant-based alternative products. As of 2021, the product line of MorningStar Farms (a subsidiary of Kellogg’s) is fully vegetarian4.
The GFI strengthens consumer legislation which facilitates market access for alternative products. For example, in 2018 the GFI sued the state of Missouri for their ban on the name ‘veggie burger’ on the basis that consumers might confuse it with hamburgers made of conventional meat. Similar legal campaigns have been filed in a total of 25 states, 14 of which have already been won.
Another success is the regulatory framework for cultured meat established by the GFI, which has already been adopted by India, the UK and Singapore.
The GFI publishes scientific articles and cooperates with numerous research institutes and universities. An online course on plant and farmed meat has been developed with Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, that is available publicly for anyone to follow5.
With plant-based meat, cultivated meat, and fermentation, we can mitigate the environmental impact of our food system, decrease the risk of zoonotic disease, and ultimately feed more people with fewer resources.
is an international non-profit organisation that is redefining meat production. With over one hundred American team members and five affiliated offices, they are building a world in which alternative proteins are the default choice. The GFI is also active in Europe. Its mission is to make the global food system better for the planet, people and animals.
The GFI supports start-up entrepreneurs and policy makers worldwide by providing them with legal, scientific and strategic advice. The organisation works with universities, businesses and governments to generate more resources for research.
Founders Pledge gives GFI a top recommendation and calls the organisation “one of the most cost-effective animal welfare charities in the world”.
Open Philanthropy and the Effective Altruism Animal Welfare Fund also consider the GFI to be a leading non-profit organisation in promoting alternatives to products from industrially reared animals6.
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