GLOBAL – Slaughter free (also known as cultivated meat) is projected to become more affordable by 2030 as production efficiencies improve and greater collaboration is made in the supply chain, a new study by CE Delft has revealed.
According to the study, production efficiencies in the sector could push the price of the protein to as as low as US$5.66 per kilogram (US$2.57 per pound) in 2030.
This would be a great achievement given that when the first cultivated meat debuted in 2013 in form of Dr. Mark Post beef burger meat, it costed about US$300,000 to make and over 2 years to produce.
Now in just under 3 decades, that cost is being brought down to just under US$6, a great technological and scientific achievement by any standard.
Cultivated meat- a less polluting source of protein
According to the CE Delft researchers, cultivated meat is expected to be less polluting (29 to 93 percent reduction) compared to all forms of conventional meat.
The novel food variety also uses significantly less (51 to 78 percent reduction) blue water – sourced from surface and groundwater reservoirs – than conventional beef production, while it is about the same as chicken and pork.
Cultivated meat produced using renewable energy was found to reduce global warming impacts by 17 percent, 52 percent, and 85 to 92 percent compared to conventional chicken, pork, and beef production, respectively.
Similar gains are not expected in the conventional meat industry, where fossil fuels account for only approximately 20 percent of carbon emissions throughout the supply chain.
Spanning from land-use change and agricultural production to packaging and waste management, food system emissions were estimated at 18 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2015.
That represents 34 percent of total emissions, a share that is gradually declining – from 44 percent in 1990 – even as food systems emissions kept increasing in absolute amounts.
Cultivated meat could also bring other positive benefits, including mitigating antibiotic resistance, foodborne illness and zoonotic disease risk.
Cultured meat attracts increased interest from global markets
CE Delft’s research comes at a time when cultured meat is already attracting interest from global markets, even in countries whose cuisines traditionally embrace livestock produce.
Earlier this month, Aleph Farms inked a new deal with global meat heavyweight BRF to bring cell-based steaks to the meat-loving Brazillian market.
This followed a partnership with Mitsubishi to scale up these products in Japan, famous for its wagyu beef.
Meanwhile, cultured chicken meat from Eat Just was green-lighted as an ingredient in chicken bites for sale in Singapore last December.
The island nation is the first to give the go-ahead to meat grown in a lab following a rigorous consultation and review process by the Singapore Food Agency.
However, to realize competitive production cost by 2030, relaxed payback periods and a menu of financing strategies and incentives will be needed to lower the cost burden of cultivated meat on manufacturers, the CE Delft researchers note.
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