A combination of increased environmental awareness and economic opportunity have meat industry executives rethinking their companies’ futures.
Here’s the facts:
- Producing beef is unsustainable, it takes 100 calories of feed to produce 1 calorie of beef.
- Cattle production in the US uses up over 40% of the country’s landmass.
- The livestock industry, as a whole, produces more carbon dioxide than all the world’s transportation combined.
There’s got to be a better way to feed people.
Plant-based and lab grown meat industries are growing, from 2015 to 2019, sales of alt-meat in the U.S. reached almost $1 billion, a growth of over 55%.
But, there needs to be a more large scale shift in the way we think about our food and our future.
The movement is starting to gain traction with an unexpected group of people; meat industry leaders.
Canadian billionaire meat mogul, Michael McCain, has put the pressure on industry executives to lead the charge.
“Rather than trying to defend those practices of generations that built up that animal production system, we must focus our energies on what’s required to change that system” he said.
Many other companies are making moves. Tyson Foods, the second largest meat producer on the planet, has invested in several alt-meat startups, including Beyond Meat and Memphis Meats, and recently launched its own plant-based product line.
Smithfield, Kellogg, and Nestle all have their own plant-based offerings.
Cargill, one of the largest meat-packers in the country invested an additional $75 million in Puris, the company that supplies Beyond Meat with pea protein.
Fast-food companies are getting behind the movement as well. Plant-based meat is now available at Dunkin’, White Castle, and about two-dozen McDonald’s restaurants in Ontario, in addition to Burger King.
The alt-meat industry has a long way to go to scale up their production and processing systems to figure out how to get all that “meat” to the masses.
But, the shift is coming and the future is bright.