Today’s Solutions: January 24, 2022

From steak cuts to chicken burgers, lab-grown meat is showing promising potential to transform the meat industry and shift it towards a more ethical and sustainable future. A new report indicates that this transition may actually happen sooner than previously thought.

The report, conducted by Dutch consultancy CE Delft, sought to project how the cultivated meat industry will evolve over the coming decade, focusing specifically on comparing the economic and environmental costs of conventional and cultivated beef production.

In what is nothing but good news for the environment, the report found that, by 2030, the cost to produce a kilogram of cultivated hamburger will fall to $5.66. In comparison, the current wholesale price of 90 percent lean ground beef stands at $6.20 per kilogram.

In addition to costing much less to produce, cultivated meat is also expected to have a much smaller environmental footprint. The analysts expect making lab-grown meat will use significantly less water, land, and nutrients than traditional livestock farming, as well as emit much fewer carbon emissions.

The report shows that — assuming a 30 percent green energy use — cultivated beef in 2030 will be about 90 percent more environmentally friendly than conventional beef, emitting 93 percent fewer greenhouse gases and using 95 percent less land for nutrient production. Meanwhile, lab-grown dairy is also taking off, with a number of startups already producing much more sustainable dairy products.

Currently, around 50 percent of the world’s habitable land is used for agriculture, 77 percent of which is used for livestock and dairy production. According to Reason, by replacing only half the meat and dairy we eat and drink globally with lab-grown alternatives, we would free up a land area about the size of North America.

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