Artificial Meat, The Next Trend?

Artificial Meat, The Next Trend?

According to US media reports on February 25, McDonald's announced that it has reached a cooperation agreement with Beyond Meat, a leading American artificial meat company. Under the agreement, Beyond Meat will be McDonald's preferred patty supplier for a plant-based meat alternative that is currently being tested in select markets. In addition, the two parties will collaborate on the development of new pork, chicken and egg substitutes.

"Beyond Meat" said that the company will also sell artificial meat burger patties in mainland China through Hema Xiansheng, and artificial meat is getting closer and closer to us.

Countries have stepped up the pace of artificial meat research

Artificial meat mainly includes plant protein meat, cell cultured meat and other meat substitutes. In August 2013, Dutch scientists announced that they had successfully grown the world's first laboratory beef burger using stem cell technology. Since then, artificial meat has attracted great attention from governments, technology and industry around the world, and was selected as one of the top ten breakthrough technologies in 2019 by MIT Technology Review. my country has also stepped up its pace and cultivated the first artificial meat derived from animal stem cells in China in November 2019.

The United States, the European Union, Israel, Japan and other countries and regions have launched relevant strategic deployments to vigorously promote the development of the field of artificial meat. The United States established a non-profit organization and the New Carnivore Fund, and launched a series of competitive research funding programs to promote research in the fields of plant-based meat and cell-cultured meat. The EU attaches great importance to investment and innovation in artificial meat, and has issued a number of strategic plans to promote the development of related fields, such as the EU Protein Plan and the Farm-to-Fork Strategy. Israel provides various financial support for the development of artificial meat through the Innovation Bureau and the Modern Agriculture Foundation. Japan proposed to support the development of artificial meat in the "Basic Plan for Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas" to ensure a stable supply of food. The development of artificial meat in my country is still in its initial stage, but in the past two years, it has vigorously promoted the research and development of related technologies.

"Shape and spirit" are getting closer and closer to real meat

Vegetable protein meat is the earliest artificial meat. Vegetarian meat is mainly made of soy protein, wheat protein and other raw materials, and does not have the characteristics of traditional meat in terms of texture, color, flavor and taste. In order to narrow the gap with traditional meat, researchers have carried out a series of optimizations on the characteristics of artificial meat.

In the late 1930s, American chemists discovered that the shape of soybean residue after winding into strands was similar to that of meat, which opened the global research on optimizing the characteristics of vegetable protein meat. Around 2000, the elucidation of the mechanism of muscle formation provided a theoretical basis for the study of cell cultured meat. In 2011, Dutch scientists used animal stem cells to create artificial meat slices, achieving a zero breakthrough in cell cultured meat production. In 2018, Impossible Foods, an innovative company in California, USA, genetically modified yeast to produce soybean heme protein in plants on a large scale, which improved the color and flavor of artificial meat while reducing costs. Israel’s Aleph Farms is the world’s first artificial meat company that has grown a prototype steak in the laboratory. In 2020, when the Israeli Prime Minister visited the company, he personally tasted the cell-cultured steak it developed and believed that it was no different from the real steak.

The industry is facing challenges but the future is bright

The artificial meat industry has been favored by many capitals in the past few years. Bill Gates, Cargill, Tyson and other investors have invested tens of millions of dollars in related companies to promote the rapid development of the market. Among them, many start-ups have risen rapidly, launching the world's first vegetarian meat patties, artificial meat burgers, cell-cultured steaks, cell-cultured chicken and other products. Traditional food giants such as KFC, Starbucks, Burger King, and Nestle have also announced their entry into the industry, launching artificial meat sandwiches, vegetable protein vegetarian chicken nuggets and other products through cooperative or independent research and development.

my country's artificial meat industry is in a stage of rapid development. In recent years, domestic artificial meat start-ups such as Zhou Zero, Wei Shi Da, and Zhen Rou have continued to emerge, launching artificial meat-related products such as pizza, moon cakes, steaks and meat sauces. Foreign food giants have also begun to seize my country's artificial meat industry market. In my country, KFC and Cargill launched artificial meat chicken nuggets, and Starbucks joined hands with Beyond Meat to launch 5 new artificial meat dishes, which to a certain extent stimulated the development of domestic artificial meat enterprises. According to the forecast of authoritative institutions, the scale of global meat substitutes will reach 6.4 billion US dollars in 2023, and the market prospect is broad.

Although the artificial meat industry has great potential for future development, there are still many problems and challenges that need to be solved urgently. For example, compared with traditional meat, plant protein meat still needs to be improved in terms of sensory performance and nutritional value, and cell cultured meat also exists in the source extraction of high-purity stem cells, culture medium improvement, large-scale production process and rapid cell culture. Many bottlenecks.

Price is also an important limiting factor for the industrialization of artificial meat. While the prices of plant-based meat and cell-cultured meat are falling, they are still higher than those of conventional meat. In addition, the supervision of new foods is also an important issue of public concern. For example, the product labeling, regulatory agencies, and regulatory principles of artificial meat face uncertainties, which require further clarification by the regulatory authorities of various countries.
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