The market size in 2023 may reach 6.4 billion U.S. dollars
Artificial meat, the next outlet?
According to a US media report on February 25, McDonald's announced that it has reached a cooperation agreement with Beyond Meat, a leading American artificial meat company.
According to the agreement, "Beyond Meat" will become McDonald's preferred meatloaf supplier for an artificial meat burger. This burger using plant-based meat substitutes is currently being tested in some markets.
In addition, the two parties will also cooperate to develop new alternatives to pork, chicken and eggs.
"Beyond Meat" said that the company will also sell artificial meat hamburger patties in mainland China through Hema Xiansheng, artificial meat is getting closer and closer to us.
Countries have stepped up the pace of artificial meat research
Artificial meat mainly includes vegetable protein meat, cell culture meat and other meat substitutes.
In August 2013, Dutch scientists announced the use of stem cell technology to successfully cultivate the world's first laboratory beef burger.
Since then, artificial meat has attracted great attention from governments, science and technology circles and industries around the world, and has been selected as one of the top ten breakthrough technologies in 2019 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Review.
my country has also stepped up its pace and cultivated the country's first piece of artificial meat derived from animal stem cells 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 artificial meat field.
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 protein meat and cell culture 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 "Farm to Table 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 "Food, Agriculture, and Rural Basic Plan" to ensure a stable supply of food.
The development of artificial meat in my country is still in its preliminary stage, but in the past two years it has begun to vigorously promote the research and development of related technologies.
"Xingshen" is 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, the researchers optimized the characteristics of artificial meat.
In the late 1930s, American chemists discovered that the shape of soybean residue after being twisted into strands was similar to that of meat, which initiated a global study on the optimization of vegetable protein meat characteristics.
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 culture meat production.
In 2018, Impossible Foods, an innovative company in California, USA, genetically modified yeast to produce soy hemoglobin protein in plants on a large scale, which not only improved the color and flavor of artificial meat, but also reduced costs.
Israel’s Aleph Farms company is the world’s first artificial meat company to cultivate a prototype steak in a laboratory. In 2020, when the Israeli Prime Minister visited the company, he personally tasted the cell culture steak he developed and believed that it was no different from the real steak.
The industry faces challenges but the future has a bright future
The artificial meat industry has been favored by many capitals in the past few years. Investors such as Bill Gates, Cargill, Tyson have invested tens of millions of dollars in related companies to promote the rapid development of the market.
Among them, many start-up companies have risen rapidly, launching the world's first vegetarian meat patties, artificial meat burgers, cell culture steak, cell culture chicken and other products.
Traditional food giants such as KFC, Starbucks, Burger King, and Nestlé have also announced their entry into the industry, launching artificial meat sandwiches, vegetable protein chicken nuggets and other products through cooperation 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 Zhouli, Weishida, Zhenrou, etc. have continued to rise, launching artificial meat-related products such as pizza, moon cakes, meat steaks and meat sauce.
Foreign food giants have also begun to seize the market of artificial meat industry in my country.
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 forecasts by authoritative organizations, the scale of global meat substitutes will reach 6.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2023, and the market prospects are broad.
Although the future development potential of the artificial meat industry is huge, there are still many problems and challenges that need to be solved urgently.
For example, compared with traditional meat, vegetable protein meat still needs to be improved in terms of sensory performance and nutritional value. Cell culture meat also exists in terms of source extraction of high-purity stem cells, medium improvement, large-scale production technology, and rapid cell culture. Many bottlenecks.
Price is also an important limiting factor facing the development of artificial meat industrialization.
Although the prices of vegetable protein meat and cell culture meat continue to decline, they are still higher than the price of traditional meat.
In addition, the supervision of new foods is also an important issue of public concern. For example, the product labeling of artificial meat, regulatory agencies, and regulatory principles are facing uncertainties, which require further clarification by regulatory agencies in various countries.
(Author's unit: Document Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences)