Over the past decade or so, there has been a lot of interest in the development and production of plant-based and cell-based alternatives to farmed meat. Interest in plant-based substitutes and cell-based meats referred to as meat alternatives has grown rapidly over the past decade. While many consumers choose to avoid meat from farmed animals or animal foods altogether, a growing number of people are replacing a share of their meat intake with “plant-based substitutes” that seek to approximate the texture, flavor, and nutrient profiles of farmed meat using ingredients derived from pulses, grains, oils, and other plants and/or fungi. These products may soon be joined by “cell-based meats” also referred “lab-grown meat,” “cellular meat,” “cultivated meat,” or “clean meat” grown from animal stem cells using tissue engineering techniques, which currently remain for the most part in the prototype stage of development. The global market for plant-based substitutes is projected to reach $85 billion by 2030. Cell based meat is still not available commercially, research and development are happening in a great rate.
Many think/ estimates that demand for beef and dairy products in the U.S. will shrink by 80–90% by 2035, driven largely by a projection that the cost of “modern protein foods”. Plant-based substitutes and cell-based meats will be five times cheaper than existing animal proteins!
Meat alternatives are often promoted as a means of mitigating the environmental, animal welfare and sometimes public health 😊Growing scientific consensus has established that substantial shifts toward plant-forward diets, particularly in high meat-consuming countries, are essential for meeting climate change mitigation targets. Seafood alternatives are also being developed to address concerns about the depletion of many of the world's wild fisheries.
Epidemiologic studies have linked Western dietary patterns that are high in the consumption of animal products, processed foods, refined sugars, and fats with escalating rates of chronic diseases. Swapping out red meat for plant-based meat alternatives can lower some cardiovascular risk factors, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford Medicine. The small study was funded by an unrestricted gift from Beyond Meat, which makes plant-based meat alternatives. The researchers used products from the company to compare the health effects of meat with plant-based alternatives. Beyond Meat was not involved in designing or conducting the study and did not participate in data analysis.
It may seem obvious that a patty made of plants is a healthier option than a hamburger. But many of the new meat alternatives, such as Beyond Meat, have relatively high levels of saturated fat and added sodium and are considered highly processed foods, meaning they are made with food isolates and extracts as opposed to whole beans or chopped mushrooms. All these factors have been shown to contribute to cardiovascular disease risk, said Christopher Gardner, PhD, professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. “There’s been this sort of backlash against these new meat alternatives,” Gardner said. “The question is, if you’re adding sodium and coconut oil, which is high in saturated fat, and using processed ingredients, is the product still actually healthy?” To find out, Gardner and his team gathered a group of more than 30 individuals and assigned them to two different diets, each one for eight weeks. He and his team conducted a study that enrolled 36 participants for 16 weeks of dietary experimentation. Gardner designed the research as a crossover study, meaning participants acted as their own controls. Regardless of which diet participants were on, both groups had on average two servings of meat or plant-based alternatives per day, carefully tracking their meals in journals and working with members of Gardner’s team to record their eating habits. The team took precautions to eliminate bias throughout the study, including working with a third party at Stanford, the Quantitative Sciences Unit, to analyze the data once all participants had finished their 16-week dietary interventions. “The QSU helped us draw up a statistical analysis plan, which we published online before the study was completed,” Gardner said. “That way our plan was public, and we were accountable for the specific primary and secondary outcomes that we had initially said we wanted to go after — namely, the participants’ levels of TMAO, blood cholesterol, blood pressure and weight.” In Gardner’s study, the researchers observed that participants who ate the red-meat diet during the first eight-week phase had an increase in TMAO, while those who ate the plant-based diet first did not. But something peculiar happened when the groups switched diets. Those who transitioned from meat to plant had a decrease in TMAO levels, which was expected. Those who switched from plant to meat, however, did not see an increase in TMAO. It turns out that there are bacterial species responsible for the initial step of creating TMAO in the gut. These species are thought to flourish in people whose diets are red-meat heavy, but perhaps not in those who avoid meat. Gardner hopes to continue studying the relationship between health and plant-based meat alternatives, particularly as it pertains to changes in the microbiome. Gardner said he’s also interested in expanding his research into diet patterns overall. “Maybe next we’ll look at a combination of dietary factors on health — perhaps alternative meat combined with alternative dairy products,” he said.
Plant-based substitutes and cell-based meats are gaining a foothold in global markets. From an environmental perspective, plant-based substitutes can provide substantial benefits over farmed beef, to which they are most often compared by industry and media. Cell-based meat could provide benefits as well for most environmental concerns, with a few caveats Meat alternatives are not intended to address concerns associated with industry consolidation, or the loss of farmers' and public autonomy over the food system, but as products to be offered within existing protein supply chains that appeal to those who enjoy meat but seek to reduce environmental, animal welfare, and public health harms.
There is no silver bullet solution to addressing the public health, environmental, and animal welfare challenges associated with protein consumption. My take is plant based substitutes is here to stay !!!
Article Credit to: Front. Sustain. Food Syst., Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future,Stanford medicine, Department of Environmental Health & Engineering, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, United States, isk Sciences and Public Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, United States, Jean-Francois Hocquette, Cristobal N. AGUILAR