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The latest on plant-based and cell-cultured proteins

What’s the media saying about red meat? Unfortunately, plant-based is “in” and animal proteins are “out.” But are they really?

Go green. Go clean. Go plant-based. Do it for your health. Do it to save the planet. Do it to save the animals.

Sound familiar?

That’s the beat the media continues to drum as plant-based proponents push a meatless utopia onto the rest of the population.

Yet despite this rhetoric, Americans will consume record amounts of meat in 2019. Our appetite for animal fats and proteins doesn’t appear to be shrinking, even in the face of the constant, repetitive “plants are king” rhetoric that dominate the mainstream news.

Keeping a pulse on consumer trends is important if we are to produce beef that keeps our customers coming back for more. I’ve rounded up recent headlines related to livestock, climate change, lab meats and more. Check out these articles to get an idea of how our industry is being portrayed in the news these days.

1. “Lettuce is ‘3 times worse than bacon’ for emissions” by Adam Withnall for the Independent

This article from 2015 is recirculating on social media again. It highlights the nutritional density and carbon footprint of meats and vegetables.

Here’s an excerpt, “Common vegetables ‘require more resources per calorie’ than many people realize, according to a team of scientists at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University.

2. “Sizzling interest in lab-grown meat belies lack of basic research” by Elie Dolgin for Nature

According to the article, “Funding for academic research on lab-grown meat has lagged behind, and some researchers say that it is sorely needed. Despite the booming commercial interest in developing meat that is eco-friendly and ethically sound, critics argue that the industry lacks much of the scientific and engineering expertise needed to bring lab-grown meat to the masses. And any advances made by commercial firms are often protected as trade secrets.”

3. “How to get meat eaters to eat more plant-based foods? Make their mouths water” by Maria Godoy for NPR

"The language for meat, and beef in particular, just sounds so much more delicious," says Daniel Vennard, of the Better Buying Lab. “And labels like ‘meat free,’ ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’ tend to be turnoffs for consumers. People don't create positive associations with how it's going to taste and don't feel it's very indulgent.”

4. “Cultured lab meat may make climate change worse” by Matt McGrath for BBC

According to the article, “Growing meat in the laboratory may do more damage to the climate in the long run than meat from cattle, say scientists. Researchers are looking for alternatives to traditional meat because farming animals is helping to drive up global temperatures. However, meat grown in the lab may make matters worse in some circumstances."

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

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