Quantcast

Most Meat Will Be Plant-Based or Lab-Grown in 20 Years, Analysts Predict

Food
A new report predicts 35 percent of meat in 2040 will be "cultured" meat grown in vats. nevodka / Getty Images

The future of meat consumption doesn't lie with dead animals.

That's the conclusion drawn by a new report from consultancy firm AT Kearney, which predicts that 60 percent of "meat" in 2040 won't come from slaughtered animals. Instead, it will come from either lab-grown meat or plant-based replacements like Beyond Meat or Impossible Burger.


"The shift towards flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan lifestyles is undeniable, with many consumers cutting down on their meat consumption as a result of becoming more conscious towards the environment and animal welfare," AT Kearney partner Carsten Gerhardt told The Guardian. "For passionate meat-eaters, the predicted rise of cultured meat products means that they still get to enjoy the same diet they always have, but without the same environmental and animal cost attached."

The report, which was based on interviews with industry experts, predicts that 35 percent of meat sold in 2040 will be "cultured" or produced "through exponential cell growth in bioreactors," The Independent reported. While this kind of meat is not yet commercially available, the report predicts it will ultimately succeed because it is closer in taste to conventional meat. On the other hand, 25 percent of meat will be plant-based replacements by 2040, The Guardian reported.

"Novel vegan meat replacements will be most relevant in the transition phase toward cultured meat, whereas cultured meat will win in the long run," the report authors concluded.

The report notes that conventional meat will be inefficient at feeding a growing population. Almost half of the world's agriculture goes to feeding livestock, while only 37 percent of crops are grown directly for human consumption. Only around 15 percent of the plant calories fed to animals are consumed by humans as meat, while three-quarters of the calories that go into producing cultured and vegan meat are then consumed by humans, according to The Guardian.

The report estimates that around $1 billion has already been invested in vegan meat replacements.

"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." AT Kearney wrote.

Rosie Wardle of the Jeremy Coller Foundation, a sustainable food charity, told The Guardian she thought the report's predictions might even be conservative.

"The shift to more sustainable patterns of protein consumption is already under way, driven by consumers, investors and entrepreneurs, and even pulling in the world's biggest meat companies," she said. "If anything, predictions that 60 percent of the world's 'meat' will not come from slaughtered animals in 20 years' time may be an underestimation."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Baby orangutan and mother orang utan seen walking in Jakarta, Indonesia. Aprison Photography / Moment / Getty Images

By Tara Lohan

To be a good wildlife photographer, you need an expertly trained eye. But good ears help, too.

Read More
Worker spraying toxic pesticides or insecticides on corn plantation. D-Keine / E+ / Getty Images

Poor people in developing countries are far more likely to suffer from exposure to pesticides classified as having high hazard to human health or the environment, according to new data that Unearthed analyzed.

Read More
Sponsored
Power to heat, to cool, to drive the world's industries. Renewables can supply it all. Jason Blackeye / Unsplash

By Paul Brown

Virtually all the world's demand for electricity to run transport and to heat and cool homes and offices, as well as to provide the power demanded by industry, could be met by renewable energy by mid-century.

Read More
Phthalates, a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break, affect health in many ways. Tatyana Tomsickova Photography / Moment / Getty Images

By George Citroner

  • Exposure to phthalates was associated with autism traits in boys (but not girls) between ages 3 and 4 years, according to a new study.
  • However, the risk was diminished in women who took folic acid during their pregnancy.
  • This study is the first to find that folic acid supplements provide a protective effect from phthalates.

Exposure in the womb to a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals called phthalates was associated with autism traits in boys (but not girls) between ages 3 and 4 years, according to a new study.

Read More
A coral and fish community at the Great Barrier Reef, northeast of Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia, on Aug. 28, 2018. Francois Gohier / VWPics / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Researchers released a sobering study this week showing that all of the world's coral reefs may be lost to the climate crisis by 2100.

Read More