Alternative Meats Gain Popularity

Jan 31, 2022 3:00 PM ET

Alternative meats are taking the food and beverage industry by storm. Currently valued at $20 billion, the market is projected to grow to $155 billion by 2027.

Despite this rapid growth, public acceptance of plant-based and cell-based meats remains a barrier, explains an article in Asia Food Journal that shares insight from David Ziskind, director of engineering in Black & Veatch’s Next-Gen Ag department.

People often misperceive alternative meats as highly processed and therefore unhealthy. On the contrary, many recent products are carefully crafted to be low in saturated fats and cholesterol while delivering nutritional needs. Cost can also be considered prohibitive for potential consumers, but industry leaders are optimistic that prices will drop as operations scale.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the rise in alternative meats is the solution they offer in feeding the rising global population. Under the current livestock farming system, about 9 calories of animal feed produces only 1 calorie of chicken meat, while beef production requires 25 to 40 calories.

Alternative protein may be a more efficient and sustainable option, as the industry utilizes 80-percent less energy, 90-percent less water, 99-percent less land and 96-percent lower greenhouse gas emissions, according to Asia Food Journal.

Though the alternative meat industry still has a long road ahead to becoming an affordable, widely accepted protein source, industry leaders remain optimistic about what it has to offer.

“We’ve got this new, exciting industry with the new emerging technologies that I think is going to impact the world population for the better,” said Ziskind.