High-tech meat substitutes are getting ready to change the world
Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more
EV Stocks Are Soaring
Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Fisker Inc (NYSE:FSR) are just two of the more notable firms vying to be the company you buy your next – electric – car from. Electric vehicle (EV) company stocks are soaring as they grab headlines. Electric transport is an industry set to rake in massive profits over the next few decades as cities and nations seek solutions to climate change. EVs are a welcome arrival and hold out considerable hope for improving some immediate issues. In some cities, one of the prevailing reasons for air pollution can be traced to dirty engines. Replacing these with electric vehicles could have an almost instant effect in some places, clearing up the skies and providing more breathable air. But this is true only in select areas. The small island of Taiwan, for example, is now a world leader in electric-powered motorcycles, with the firm Gogoro fast becoming a global brand. But the center and south of the island are still frequently blanketed with toxic air – some of the haze floats over from its large neighbor, but most of it is due to coal-burning power plants – power Taiwan hopes to replace with solar and wind energy.
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Obviously, cleaner and more renewable energy solutions should be implemented wherever possible, but on a personal level, there's really only one action that can reduce an individual's carbon footprint by over 70% - according to Oxford University researchers. And that action isn't buying an electric car or scooter. –It's going vegan. But you won't be surprised to discover that it's a lot easier to convince many to buy an electric car than it is to convince them to reject the consumption of animal products. Recent breakthroughs in the science of taste and texture, however, have turned plant-based meats into viable alternatives that offer the best of both worlds. As Eshchar Ben Shitrit, the CEO of Redefine Meat – one of the leading firms creating ‘new meat’ – notes, “We wanted to make a difference and contribute to a world where anyone can enjoy great meat, but without compromising on taste or their values." When these alternative great-tasting meats become more commercially available, they’ll undoubtedly go a long way towards weaning people off of animal protein – a step that could do more for the planet than any electric transport solution imaginable.
57% Of All Emissions
Most of us love meat. Meat is a huge part of our evolutionary heritage and a significant reason why we evolved the big brains that helped us create civilization. Of course, in an example of a “double-edged sword,” we’ve now also created the means to destroy civilization. And a massive contributor to this unfolding destruction is meat. According to the Guardian: “The use of cows, pigs and other animals for food, as well as livestock feed, is responsible for 57% of all food production emissions, the research found, with 29% coming from the cultivation of plant-based foods. The rest comes from other uses of land, such as cotton or rubber. Beef alone accounts for a quarter of emissions produced by raising and growing food … – to produce 1kg of wheat, 2.5kg of greenhouse gasses are emitted. A single kilo of beef, meanwhile, creates 70 Kg of emissions.”
So, the experts say we need to give up – or drastically reduce – our consumption of meat. And while the reasons for this are not hard to understand – the meat industry is unsustainable and hugely polluting, animals raised for food require too much water and land compared to what they offer in return as edible protein – only a fraction of the world is at present willing to reject untold thousands of years of taste preferences. The problem is, however, perhaps less unsolvable than it sounds. A fresh look at modern meat substitutes shows they’re really “a whole new animal”, as well as an overlooked environmentally friendly business opportunity. Startups in the high-tech meat substitute industry are attracting billions of dollars. Investors wouldn’t be putting in that kind of cash if this industry was a flash in the pan. ‘Alternative’ meat or ‘new meat’ is not the veggie burger your hippie relative used to try to convince you was ‘awesome.’ These are meat substitutes designed for meat lovers. Some created with the aid of AI and 3D printers, this faux meat is the closest science has yet come to recreating the texture, taste, smell, and even the way meat cooks. And it's 100% vegan.
Skepticism About Meat Alternatives
Much like the electric car, new tech must reach a certain level of sophistication before skeptics are willing to get out of their comfort zone. Reports on EVs once highlighted range anxiety and other fears about power and practicality… until Elon Musk rolled out a model that proved they weren’t only possible, but for many, preferable. To save our future we need to convince more people to cut down on – or quit – meat. Right now, people are skeptical about alternatives. But the firms that end up convincing the masses (through taste) that ‘alt meat’ is a viable alternative are not only going to become the next ‘Teslas,’ but could also affect the course of history – possibly in a bigger way than any electric car company ever could.