In America, there is a genuine surge in the retreat from meat as it is called. People are becoming more interested in eating plant-based meat products which look and taste just like the real thing. For example, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bill Gates backed the business Beyond Meat. There are other examples of the expansion of vegan meat if that is a viable term. Flesh-based meat is the new coal. Now it is the time for the UK to get involved.
The Times business section today refers to investment being poured into a business called Meatless Farm in Leeds. They have raised $31 million from investors who want to join in the vegan wave surging through the meat industry. The flesh of animals which is euphemistically referred to as meat is gradually being supplanted by a more environmentally and animal friendly product. There is a genuine mood of change. People are much more aware of environmental issues nowadays.
Meatless Farm said that they will use the money to fund ambitious plans to expand sales in the UK and internationally. They want to develop new products and put some cash into their operations in Canada.
All the major British supermarkets currently stock their mince, sausages and burgers made from pea protein. The products are also stocked in the US in Whole Foods shops. They are confident because they are seeing strong demand for their plant-based burgers, mince and sausages across all markets. They see opportunities to grow rapidly as people are looking to healthier products and a more sustainable world.
The founder of Meatless Farm is Morten Toft Bech, 45. He set up the business in 2016. His wife challenged him to develop a vegetarian food for their three children which would appeal more to them than beans and lentils. He rose to the challenge admirably having spent two years experimenting with a range of recipes.
They have already enjoyed investments of $17 million from backers including Channel 4’s Commercial Growth Fund. Compared to last year the business is selling three times more burgers and sausages. However, they have a long way to go before they can match Beyond Meat which has been valued at $10 billion. That, though, is an indication of the interest in plant-based meat products. And let’s remember that these products are generally very good. They are real substitutes to a flesh-based meat product.
Veganism is on the rise because of an increased sensitivity towards the planet, sustainability, environmental concerns, cattle farming and animal welfare. These are all very positive moves for someone like me and all other animal advocates.
It is estimated that by 2029, plant-based meats will account for 10% of the $1.4 trillion a year global meat market.
Cattle contribute to climate change. They are ruminants and they produce methane which is a powerful greenhouse gas. Beef emits 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions per gram of edible protein then common plant proteins. It is estimated that livestock are responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation. Cows contribute more to climate change then cars planes and all other forms of transport put together apparently. However, human activity is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases and climate change. In the United States greenhouse gases are produced from burning fossil fuels for transportation, heat and electricity and I guess air-conditioning.