High Steaks: will cultured meat save the planet?
Curious about cultured meat? In this episode, Matt is joined by Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, and Seren Kell, Science and Technology Manager at the Good Food Institute, to discuss farming cells rather than animals, and the important role of cultured meat as a climate solution.
- Cultured meat or cell-based meat is produced by isolating cells from a healthy animal, then growing them in a cultivator, which mimics natural conditions in a controlled environment. As the cells replicate, they can be arranged on a scaffold (matrix) which helps to form different muscle tissues. These different tissues or ‘cuts of meat’, can then be harvested, cooked and consumed.
- The products produced through cellular agriculture are biochemically identical to traditionally-produced meat, however instead of farming animals, cellular agriculture involves farming cells.
- The benefits of cultured meat include:
- being more efficient and more sustainable than traditionally farmed meat
- reducing the need for antibiotics and avoiding pathogens and zoonotic diseases associated with intensive farming practices
- avoiding animal welfare concerns by removing animals from the process.
- Animal agriculture represents 20% of global GHG emissions, and we will not meet our climate targets unless we address this. Alternative proteins, including cultivated meat, need to be seen as a climate solution – they are one of the best tools we have to meet our net zero targets. Life cycle analysis has indicated that cultured meat production could contribute to a 92% reduction in GHG emissions, compared to conventional meat production.
- To make cellular agriculture a reality on the shelves, and accessible to all, we need to ensure we develop the right products on the right platforms to meet consumer expectations. Public-private partnerships will be key in this and we need to work holistically, using a systems-based approach.