Thursday, July 6, 2023

Meat

In his book Ravenous Henry Dimbleby points out "With or without UK companies on board, the protein transition is coming." (Ravenous 2023 pg226) On the 21st June 2023 CNN reported

"Cultivated meat, also known as lab-grown meat, has been cleared for sale in the United States.

Upside Foods and Good Meat, two companies that make what they call “cultivated chicken,” said Wednesday that they have gotten approval from the US Department of Agriculture to start producing their cell-based proteins." (https://edition.cnn.com/2023/06/21/business/cultivated-meat-us-approval/index.html)

In 2019 KFC announced a partnership with a company in Moscow to produce 3D chicken products from plant protein and cultivated chicken.

Finnebrogue a well known artisan food producer in Northern Ireland has announced a partnership with Ivy Farm Technologies to work together on laboratory grown Wagyu beef burgers.

The changes that will follow this new technology will be highly significant and will change the face of agriculture, particularly in areas like Northern Ireland where the growth of the chicken processing industry has seen massive investment and where the production of beef is such a fundamental part of the farming landscape.

Consider the production of the standard broiler chicken from egg to supermarket shelf. An entire industry exists to ensure the production of genetically suitable eggs before incubation and hatching. Transportation to farmers who have made significant investment in sheds capable of supporting 10's of thousands of chicks to finish point at around 6 weeks. Transported then to slaughter and butchering in processing factories. Much of the meat will be minced and used to create nuggets, goujons, Kyiv's and other processed products. 

The opportunity exists and is proactively being developed by the food processing industry to replace all of the activity in the previous paragraph between "Consider" and "factories" with a "lab grown" product. Large vats will produce chicken meat, grown from chicken cells, in vast quantities ready for processing and onward sale. Current breeding is based on quick growth rates, future product can be sourced based on taste or other preferred qualities.

Processors do not exist for the benefit of farmers, in a world where 2/3rds of all birds in the world are chickens the potential to save many of the costs of production will appeal to their economic models. They will welcome the opportunity to market their "real chicken" products as Environmentally friendly, Climate friendly, Chicken friendly healthy protein.

The outlook for beef will follow, imagine if McDonalds was to move to a similar model. There will still be beef from cattle, there will still be chicken from chicken's but the current model of production will have changed and such beef and chicken will come at a premium and the market will be much smaller.

Pretending that change won't happen isn't the answer, preparing for such changes will be fundamental to many peoples lives.




 

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