The results of the first experiments on ways to process protein of vegetable origin to give this the same appearance and flavour as meat are now coming to light.
The extensive consumption of meat and meat derivatives in developed countries has set off alarm bells in relation to the unsustainable nature of the current consumption and production of meat companies. Alarm bells regarding the effect of cattle rearing on global warming, on top of the vegetarian and vegan trends, considered by many to be more healthy options, have promoted the design of “meat without meat”, which many claim will be the meat of the future.
According to a study called “The Green Revolution” conducted by Lantern, during 2016 a quarter of Spanish people said they’d consumed meat alternatives.
What is behind this trend?
It is estimated that by 2050 there may be more than 9 billion people living on this planet. If we keep the same model, it is expected to become difficult to produce enough food for everyone, and doing so could signify a grave problem for the environment.
In terms of sustainability, the production of meat and the production of vegetable products are two very different things. To give us an idea, to generate 1kg of beef you have to invest 20kg of cereal. We also have to take into account the greenhouse gas emissions and/or alternative products used to fatten up the animals quickly, artificially improve their appearance, etc.
The experts calculate that in order to produce the same amount of “meat without meat”, you would only need half a kilo of soy; a much lower cost for the planet. This is causing people to rethink their diets, replacing meat with vegetable products.
What will the meat of the future be like?
In the process of researching flavours, it was discovered that thanks to heme, a molecule that contains iron, we can give vegetable hamburgers a similar aroma, appearance and flavour as meat. We can even recreate the typical uncooked appearance of rare-cooked meat.
Another alternative may be stem cell meat. This product consists of generating meat based on stem cells cultivated in laboratories on a small or large scale. This is what as known as “lab-grown” or “cultured” meat.
“We’re developing a way of producing real meat from animal cells without the need to feed, raise and sacrifice real animals”.– Memphis Meats, food technology company with the goal of the sustainable cultivation of meat.
Is it healthy?
Although technology is constantly progressing and new procedures are always being studied in laboratories, the taste of artificial meat is still not the same as that of real meat, but it seems we can at least be sure that the consumption of meat products of vegetable origin is safe and probably as healthy as the products they are replacing.