In 2050 will eating animal meat be seen like smoking is today?


James Joseph | April 18, 2018

There’s one question that is fast becoming reality and not one of science fiction. In the future will we even eat meat?

The impact of the meat industry around the globe is colossal. The strain on the planet for humans to consume animals is high. Now the millennial and iGeneration generations are rapidly moving towards vegan alternatives. But there’s one step further that is becoming really interesting. Synthesised meat.

It brings about the question, that in 30 years time, will we as a society look back on eating real animal meat, as we do smoking today. Will it be a shock that we as a civilization used to use colossal resources to consume animals, now that we can create meat in a lab?

This whole theory became very real last month when fast food chain White Castle introduced the synthesised ‘Impossible Burger’ onto their menu, with a very positive reaction. How long is it until McDonald’s or Burger King follows suit? Even if we’re 5-10 years away, it will change the course of human health and climate change dramatically.

To explain the ‘Impossible Burger’ in more detail, the plant-based meat is created by Impossible Foods. A company that is dedicated to changing the way meat is created. There is a complex science behind how the company makes a plant-based meat that even ‘bleeds’, much is to do with Leghemoglobin and a process named gas chromatography mass spectrometry. I did say complex right?

Whether you are a meat lover (which I admit I am among), or a full-on vegan right now, there can be no argument how much environmental impact keeping livestock creates. Just the water per year per cow is a staggering 11,000 gallons. Not to mention how much land they need. If we decided to grass feed every cow in the states, the entire USA would need to become grassland. We’d have to evacuate 300 million people just to make room for it.

With inner-city restaurants rapidly changing their menus to compensate for iGen and millennial demand. Changing cow-milk to oat based milk, egg-based mayonnaise to chick-pea based mayonnaise, how long will it be till consumer demand drives inner-city business’ to follow suit? Even a decade would be a substantial, rapid shift in society.

We then have to reflect on the other impact of synthesised meat. Our own job creation and economy. It’s difficult to understand or comprehend exactly how it could impact us and our economy, it could be much like the issues that will arise when Robots and AI take away jobs. We may be adding again to a guaranteed basic minimum income programme. OR it may be that synthesised meat can create many more jobs, in a much more efficient, more environmentally friendly way.

Whilst there is a long way to go and many solutions to iron out, it’s coming. A world where synthesised meat is part of every-day life. I truly believe we will see it in our lifetimes.