Cellular Agriculture: The Future of Food
In its current form, the meat industry is unsustainable. It is inefficient and may soon be unable to adequately feed the growing global population. Meat production is also damaging the environment, contributing to climate change, dwindling water supplies, and environmental pollution. Despite this, global meat consumption is still growing and people are eating more meat than ever. And it is unlikely the global population will turn vegan.
So what do we do?
This is where emerging technologies such as plant-based meat and cellular agriculture can make a huge impact! By reducing the energy input and increasing the production rate, cellular products could help feed the ever-growing population.
Cellular Agriculture VS Plant-based Meat
Cellular Agriculture and plant-based meat are entirely different concepts. Cellular agriculture is the production of agricultural products from cell cultures. Cellular products are made of living or once-living cells.
This means we can create meat in a lab and completely avoid having to kill and raising billions of animals.
The world’s first cultured beef hamburger made in 2013 served as a proof that cultured meat was possible. By engineering the tissues, it was possible to make a beef burger without a cow!
Plant-based meat is meat made from plants. It is specially designed and created to look like, taste like, and cook like conventional meat.
But Why is This so Important?
Cellular agriculture will soon become the future of food. Using cultured meat production we can drastically reduce our carbon footprints and stop the killing of innocent animals.
Moreover, according to scientists from Oxford University, cultured meat could reduce up to 96% of greenhouse gases compared to traditional methods (raising/slaughtering animals). Which is crazy!
Moreover, given that:
- climate change will likely cause more intense drought, flooding, and famine in some parts of the world,
- the soils that grow our food are deteriorating,
- deforestation is happening at alarming rates, especially in poor tropical countries,
- approximately 70% of all human water use is for agriculture,
- ~3.1 Million Children die annually from hunger-related causes,
- and four billion tons of food is wasted each year.
it’s safe to say something needs to change.
Biotechnology holds the key to provide humanity with nutritious, safe and healthy food while reducing the resources required, such as energy, land and water.
Agriculture in Canada
Growth in Canada’s economy, and associated social changes, have altered the way food is produced, processed, handled, sold and consumed. Increased productivity and efficiency have led to lower prices and affordable fresh food for all Canadians. As we move onto a new era, companies will need to adapt and find new solutions to feed the growing population sustainably.
Cellular agriculture is still in its early stages with a couple of challenges in the way, such as scaling production, changing the consumer's mindset on food and ensuring safety. Moreover, introducing something like cellular agriculture will take some time as companies will need to adapt.
Over the summer, I’ve been working with CAC, a not-for-profit organization on a mission to support and promote the cellular agriculture industry and research. Canada is uniquely positioned to help create a shift in the way we perceive food. By connecting all stakeholders, CAC envisions a positive transformation of the agricultural industry. You can learn more about cellular agriculture at Cellular Agriculture Canada.
Traditional meat production will someday not be enough to feed billions of people. It's only a matter of time until new alternatives take over.
- Cellular agriculture focuses on creating agricultural products through cell culture
- Lab-grown meat and plant-based meat are two different concepts.
- Cellular agriculture is still fairly new, with many opportunities for growth and innovation.
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