Food From Thought: February 2023
Alternative proteins become a bigger global movement, chefs prepare to help take cultivated meat mainstream, Meati opens new mega-facility for mushroom protein production, and more.
There haven’t been many major steps forward in the race for broader cultivated meat regulatory approval in the new year — so far. However, it’s apparent that the desire to create a more sustainable food system has gone global and continues to spread. (Not to mention, Veganuary had a record-breaking month of participation this year).
Not every country has the same ideas in mind for how to do that, but those investing in change do have one thing in common: no more conventional animal agriculture.
What does this look like around the world? U.S.-based UPSIDE Foods, which attained FDA preliminary clearance last fall, hopes to bring its cultivated chicken to restaurants as soon as this year and to grocery stores by 2028.
Eastern Europe has recently seen a wave of new alt protein startups, making plant-based meat cuts from soy, pea, and wheat, plant-based red tuna and salmon sashimi using potato protein, and mycoprotein produced with fermentation technology to be used for plant-based meats.
Scientists at a UK-based company recently produced the world’s first 100% cultivated steak using pork cells, with plans to now work on producing a chef-ready product for public consumption.
And South Korea has become the latest Asian market to start examining the idea of developing food standards to help govern the alt protein industry. The push behind it includes factors like the rapid growth of the alt protein market and consumer social and environmental concerns about food.
Despite the waiting game, chefs worldwide are also getting into positions to take cultivated meat to the top as soon as possible. A new German survey shows that countless chefs have welcomed alternative proteins into their kitchens and are optimistic about the changing landscape of food.
While many chefs are already using things like Beyond Meat in their creations, they’re also committed to putting cultivated meats on menus as soon as they’re able. The study reported that 90% of chefs have seen an increased interest in alternatives from patrons, and over 40% have observed that interest continuing to grow.
Getting alternative proteins on mainstream menus has been invaluable to normalizing them for consumers, and being able to bring cultivated meat to these environments will have the same opportunity.
Where on the globe will we see the next big leap forward for alt proteins? At this stage in the game, it could be anywhere.
Matrix F. T.
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