Beyond Meat, makers of plant-based meats has secured $72 million in funding to date, including contributions by Richard Branson and Bill Gates
Memphis Meats, a startup that grows meat from cells, received $17 Million in funding in 2017.
Impossible Foods, makers of plant-based meats, wants to end animal-based food production by 2035.
In the US, meat consumption is on the rise with 2018 set to be a record-breaking year.
Some say meat without livestock is imminent. That cultured beef grown from cells or by engineering plants is a more efficient means of protein production with less greenhouse gas emissions and less guilt. Yet, consumers remain skeptical of inserting technology into the foods they eat: an ABCNEWS poll in June 2018 found that a majority of Americans believe genetically modified foods are unsafe. So, what does it all mean for the future of meat?
At Pre, we asked a few of our experts this very question. And, can our beef meet the demands of a meat alternative-buying public?
SUSTAINABILITY & GLOBAL IMPACT
Patricia Willmot, COO
My understanding is that much of the meat alternative-buying public is concerned about animal welfare, the environment and feeding a growing world population. According to the U.N., we will have an additional 2 billion people to feed in the world by 2050. There is an ongoing, highly polarized debate on how to feed all of these people, with livestock production on one side and alternative food systems on the other.
In my opinion, we need to blend the best of all solutions to address this challenge, while still respecting animals and our environment. We need a sustainable, resilient food system that provides people with both choice and nutritious options. I believe Pre will fit into this solution. The pasture raised cattle we source eat grasses that are inedible for humans and frequently graze on land that is not suitable for growing crops. Pre’s cattle contribute to biodiversity in farming and soil health, while providing natural fertilizer (manure) for other agricultural products.
We, as a global population, can and should cut back on our beef consumption overall while selectively enjoying grass fed and finished, pasture raised and humanely treated beef like Pre.
Kristen Wilk, MS, RDN, Communications Marketing Manager
From a nutrition perspective, there is a strong movement from health professionals and organizations encouraging people to eat less red meat and more fruits and vegetables. As in any science, it’s important to dig a little deeper to capture the full story.
Overall, Americans should eat more fruits and vegetables. But plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean only plants. Animal protein sources provide essential nutrients, and there is nutrition science evidence to support that lean animal-based proteins can be part of a very healthy lifelong eating pattern. What that means is that a meat alternative-buying public can enjoy meat alternatives as well as nutritious real meat. And it turns out they do – the majority of meat alternative buying consumers are in fact also meat eaters.
It’s also important to note that general nutrition wisdom includes choosing less processed foods. Most meat imitating products, in order to strike anywhere close to the taste, texture, mouthfeel and overall meat eating experience, must combine lots of ingredients, including some that many might not consider “natural.” A product like beef includes only one real, straight-from-nature ingredient: beef.
WHAT CONSUMERS WANT
Lenny Lebovich, Founder and CEO
Whether Pre can meet the demands of people buying meat alternatives depends on why they’re buying those meat alternatives in the first place.
At Pre, we know our beef is the very best animal protein option available. That’s taking into account the whole package – the eating experience, certainly, but also the nutrition, consistency and ease of use in the kitchen. If someone is buying meat alternatives because they find the “animal” part of “animal protein” unacceptable, then we won’t meet their demands. But if it’s another reason, we will.
In the end, I believe consumers buy beef for the experience it represents. And Pre provides the very best experience.