With the world’s population exploding at unprecedented rates that are expected to keep rising to a whopping 9.8 billion by 2050, our current food system, ruled by Big Meat and Dairy, is not sustainable and will not be able to feed us all. From destroying irreplaceable land like rainforests for cattle ranches to polluting our precious water resources and creating more harmful greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined, industrialized animal agriculture is, quite frankly, killing our planet. These factors have led scientists to look to alternatives, like lab-cultured “clean” meat, which has made some incredible advancements in recent years, thanks to innovative scientists and financial backing from investors like Bill Gates and Richard Branson. And now the “clean” meat market is expanding in India!
Humane Society International (HSI) India and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad have joined together in an effort to create clean meat in India by as early as 2025.
N.G. Jayasimha, managing director for HSI/India, commented on the development, stating, “Clean meat technology is taking the world by storm with even the biggest meat producers investing in companies developing clean meat. It is time India begins this dialogue, and we are honored to have CCMB partner with us for the first step we take in this direction. We are also grateful to Good Food Institute India for guiding us with their expertise on the technology.”
Alokparna Sengupta, Deputy Director at HSI India, said lab-cultured meat is expected to hit the international market by the end of 2018 and in India by 2025. Sengupta further explained how quickly the market is moving. In 2013, when the first cultured beef burger was created by Mosa Meat, it cost $375,000. Now, the price has dropped drastically to $30 per pound. “The taste will be the same because clean meat is meat. However, instead of slaughtering an entire animal for different parts of its body, the technology in clean meat can develop those parts based on a biopsy taken from different parts of the animals’ body,” Sengupta explained.
Rakesh Mishra, director at CCMB, noted that although these are encouraging developments, there is still a lot to be done before lab-cultured meat becomes a norm. “While technology exists to multiply any type of cell, the scaling up of the same in an economically affordable manner as a meat substitute remains a major challenge … There may also be cultural and social factors that will need to be addressed for this to be socially acceptable,” Mishra stated.
Instead of mass producing cheap meat in factory farms, clean meat producers can create the same products without the major environmental footprint. It is especially great to see this technology coming to India since this country is quickly becoming one of the world’s largest consumers of meat.
Interested in learning more about clean meat and the companies working to make it a reality? Check out this recent episode of #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias featuring Bruce Friedrich, Executive Director of the Good Food Institute.
For more stats on how our food choices impact the planet and to learn how we can all be the solution, check out the #EatForThePlanet book!