In the last few months, I have written about alternative proteins, whether called vegetable meats, meat analogues and cultured or laboratory meats – the so-called "cellular agriculture."
I have even questioned whether or not these products should be called meat or poultry.
From a scientific point of view, it seems to me a fascinating area, because of the perseverance of the human mind in opening paths and imitating nature, while destroying it. From the point of view of looking for alternatives to something we already have, in a way it seems to me nonsense, especially during a time when people look for more "natural" foods. And about personal taste, I don’t care that much about vegetable imitations of meat (not to mention how heavy legumes are for me).
In any event, alternative proteins are here. There are researchers working on them. A bunch of start-ups, and what's more, multinational meat companies themselves are investing in this area, with the creation of new companies and with research and development.
To answer the question of the headline, I would say yes, we should talk about them. We must learn what they are, what is being done and where they stand. Because, whether we like it or not, they are an alternative for consumers.
There is a report from Kearny, which estimates that by 2040, 35% of the protein consumed will come from cultivated meat and 25% from plant substitutes. The rest will be traditional meat. It may seem absurd, but we should not turn the other way. We have to do something. Many groups have declared war on all meat production, and I don’t think we should stand idly. We have to know the opponent. Or join it?
The poultry industry needs to work, firstly in promoting itself with the benefits and the myriad of changes it has made on efficiency, the environment, food safety and general safety. Secondly, what happens out there should not be disdained. We must learn what is being done and look for any opportunities. The door is open for innovation.
No one can predict the future, but neither can we take things for granted. This growth in meat alternatives is a challenge, both for the companies that make them and for traditional animal protein producers.
What do you think?