Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Substitutes for meat & dairy

6 October 2020

In collaboration with WWF, the UK supermarket Tesco has announced a target of increasing sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300% by 2025, relative to a 2018 baseline. To meet this goal, Tesco plans to introduce new plant-based products, try to keep prices affordable, work with suppliers to encourage innovation and display meat replacements alongside their animal-based equivalent.

6 October 2020

This report from the non-profit Good Food Institute reviews the current status of fermentation technologies in the alternative protein industry. It covers traditional fermentation (e.g. tempeh, cheese, yoghurt), biomass fermentation (where microbial biomass is used as an ingredient, e.g. the filamentous fungi in Quorn) and precision fermentation (where a specific component is extracted from the biomass, e.g. Perfect Day’s dairy proteins and Impossible Foods’ heme protein).

23 September 2020

The FCRN’s Tara Garnett took part in a webinar titled “Do we need to stop eating meat and dairy to tackle climate change?” organised by Carbon Brief. The panel also included Prof Pete Smith of the University of Aberdeen, Dr Helen Harwatt of Chatham House and Dr Modi Mwatsama of the Wellcome Trust. The webinar covered the climate impacts of different food types, carbon sequestration through restoration of native vegetation, health impacts of animal products and the cultural and economic factors influencing dietary patterns. 

9 September 2020

In this paper, FCRN member Raychel Santo reviews evidence on the potential benefits and risks of the production and consumption of plant-based and cell-based meat alternatives. The paper covers implications for health, environmental performance, animal welfare, economy and policy.

27 August 2020

UK cultured meat startup Higher Steaks has created one of the world’s first lab-grown pork products (Mission Barns claims to have created, but not publicised, a lab-grown bacon prototype in May 2020). The Higher Steaks pork belly is made of 50% cultivated cells, and the bacon product contains 70% cultivated cells, with the remaining material being plant-based.

17 June 2020

According to this paper, participants in a survey of 193 Dutch citizens were more likely to view cultured meat favourably after they were given information about its purported benefits, compared to before they were given information. Most participants were willing to pay a premium of 37%, on average, for cultured meat over conventional meat.

9 June 2020

This blog post from US think tank The Breakthrough Institute examines uncertainties around the environmental impacts of cultured meat. It points out that estimates of the carbon footprint of cultured meat are highly variable, and that the impacts of switching to cultured meat depend on what it is replacing in the diet (e.g. beef, poultry, plant-based meats or tofu).

9 June 2020

This perspective piece assesses the technological readiness of a variety of food system innovations, such as artificial meat, drones and vertical farming. It also suggests eight ways in which food system innovation can be accelerated by incentives and regulation. 

19 May 2020

This report from US thinktank The Breakthrough Institute lays out the economic and environmental case for expanding federal support for alternative protein research and industry expansion. COVID-19 is not only impacting the meat processing industry - many alternative protein startups are also closed or threatened by declines in investment funding. The report estimates that the alternative protein industry could generate over 200,000 US jobs in the long-term, but only if the government provides support to the nascent industry to ensure it does not collapse because of COVID-19. Support might include small business innovation programmes, loan guarantees, and research and development programmes.

5 May 2020

This opinion piece by Liz Specht of the US Good Food Institute argues that taking animals out of the global food system - for example by replacing animal products with plant-based or cultivated meat products - can reduce the risk of future pandemics. Specht notes that zoonotic diseases usually pass to humans during the hunting or slaughter of wild animals or livestock.

7 April 2020

The Good Food Institute (US-based non-profit) has launched a database of funding opportunities in the alternative protein space, including opportunities related to plant-based proteins, cellular agriculture and proteins derived from fermentation. 

7 April 2020

This blog piece, by anthropologist Sarah Duignan of McMaster University, argues that a risk of cellular agriculture (i.e. lab-grown meat) is that some people may not benefit from the technology (despite its potential environmental benefits). For example, beef farmers may find themselves in similar difficulties to dairy farmers, who are struggling already because of decreased demand. 

16 March 2020

The Florida-based Cellular Agriculture Society has just relaunched its website with the aim of building a home for cellular agriculture on the internet. The website sets out a vision of what a future with cellular agriculture could look like, and explains how the processes of tissue culture and protein fermentation work. 

10 March 2020

This article from Civil Eats examines how the rise of both plant-based diets and regenerative agriculture practices have encouraged more farmers in the United States to grow pulses such as lentils, peas and chickpeas. As pulses become more popular with US consumers, a smaller fraction of the US pulse harvest is exported to other countries.

10 March 2020

The Cultivated Meat Modeling Consortium, an interdisciplinary group applying computing techniques to the cultivated meat sector, has released a white paper based on the Consortium’s first meeting. The paper sets out ways in which modelling might be able to optimise cultivated meat manufacturing, including assessing different bioreactor designs, designing experiments with different growth media, and generating databases of the characteristics of the cell types (e.g. animal species) that are most likely to be used in cultivated meat.

3 March 2020

This report by Hong Kong media platform Green Queen gives an overview of alternative protein startups in Asia, in the categories of cultivated protein (e.g. laboratory-grown meat), modern processed plant-based products, and whole-food alternatives (such as jackfruit or lion’s mane mushrooms, which are sometimes used to mimic the texture of meat despite not having the same protein content). The authors argue that Asia’s alternative protein industry is likely to overtake US and European brands because of demand from Asia’s growing middle class, relatively low production costs and products that are tailored to local tastes.

20 January 2020

This paper reviews the ingredients and nutrient contents of several plant-based meat alternatives (made from soy, other legumes, mycoprotein and cereals) and compares them to traditional meat products. It finds that no broad conclusions can be drawn about whether meat analogues or traditional meat products are healthier, with their composition varying between products.

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