How Does Animal Meat Compare to Plant-Based Meat? – Visual Capitalist

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The following content is sponsored by The Very Good Food Company
plant-based meat infographic part 3
Plant-based alternatives are no longer for vegetarians and vegans alone. In recent years, they’re appealing to many people who are cutting out, or cutting down their personal meat consumption.
Whether you consider yourself one of these people or simply recognize the rise of this trend, this infographic from the Very Good Food Company (VGFC) explores three key reasons why the plant-based market is growing, and how it compares to animal meat.
It is Part 3 in a series that provides investors with everything they need to know about participating in this exciting space.
In an online survey of consumers, over one-third considered themselves “flexitarian”—eating mostly plant-based diets, with the occasional meat consumption. In fact, among Americans eating less meat, 36% are directly replacing these products with plant-based alternatives.
This is being primarily driven by younger generations, who show significant preferences for plant-based lifestyles:
It’s no wonder then, that the plant-based food market is set to sprout by nearly 5x within the next decade, expected to reach $162 billion by 2030. The top three reasons that consumers are transitioning to plant-based diets are health consciousness, environment concerns, and overall costs. How does animal meat compare to plant-based meat in these key areas?
Meat can be a valuable source of protein and nutrients. So why are consumers increasingly turning to plant-based alternatives?
A study from Duke University Medical Center examined the nutritional profile of animal meat against common plant-based alternatives:
The research shows that plant-based meat contains comparable protein levels to animal meat. The latter also brings with it higher cholesterol content—so replacing red meat with plant-based alternatives can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
On the flip side, many plant-based alternatives in the market are currently highly processed, but the growing use of natural and organic ingredients are reducing these sodium levels.
Every stage of the food supply chain sees greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), but they are most prominent for animal meat compared to the ingredients for plant-based alternatives. Of all human-made GHGs, 14.5% come from livestock, of which cattle account for over half the total due to methane production and grazing land required.
In contrast, the environmental impact of plant-based alternatives is more positive:
This heightened environmental awareness is leading more consumers to choose plant-based alternatives.
One of the biggest barriers to ubiquitous adoption of plant-based alternatives remains cost.
Here is how the price of plant-based meat and animal meat products vary in a retail grocery store such as Whole Foods:
Plant-based products come with a much higher price tag than conventional meat, but there’s good news—as demand grows, more plant-based factories are popping up. With scale, some plant-based meat could be competitively priced with animal meat.
As more consumers reduce their overall meat intake, they’re replacing these products with high-protein plant-based alternatives. Consumers see these as better for their health and for the planet. Soon, there will be even more options on the table at cheaper price points.
The Very Good Food Company produces great tasting, healthy food options using organic ingredients that cater to all tastes and diets.
Click here to learn more about the Very Good Food Company and how its clean, healthy protein alternatives are feeding this growing global movement.
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We use synthetic materials in every aspect of our lives. Here we visualize the synthetic materials that will shape all future applications.
Synthetic materials have been in our lives for a considerable time now. Since the introduction of nylon in the 1940s, we have used synthetic materials in almost every aspect of our lives.
We have synthetic materials everywhere—from garments and medicine to sportswear and tactical gear. So what are synthetic materials anyway?
Materials produced by humans in laboratories or industries with chemical processes that do not commonly occur in nature are known as synthetic materials.
In the above infographic from HydroGraph, we look at the synthetic materials that have the potential to change the future.
Chemists have discovered new catalysts and developed new synthetic routes to create materials with really specific applications.
Today, synthetic materials have gone beyond everyday household items to shape several major industries. Here are five types that will be instrumental in the future:
As we are often reminded, plastics do not degrade and are visible sources of environmental pollution. To complicate things further, the building blocks of these materials, which we call monomers, are historically derived from crude oil, a non-renewable resource.
But that is now changing. Bioplastics are plastics that either: originate from a renewable resource, are biodegradable, or are both. Bioplastics represent an evolution within the plastics marketplace due to their benefits as new applications and technologies are developed.
Initially discovered in the late 1970s, plastic electronics represent an expanding technology that brings us a myriad of products incorporating flexible and transparent electronic circuits.
Rather than relying on conventional, rigid, and brittle silicon chips to process information, plastic technology relies on novel organic materials on which the coding can be printed.
Current state-of-the-art microchip factories are about the size of three football fields and require purpose-built facilities. In contrast, plastic electronic circuits have the potential to be created in small laboratories.
Self-healing is a well-known phenomenon in nature: a broken bone merges after some time, and if the skin is damaged, the wound will stop bleeding and heals again.
This concept can be mimicked to create polymeric materials with the ability to regenerate after they have suffered degradation or wear.
Inspired by biological systems, new materials can now heal in response to traditionally irreversible damage. Current research in this field shows how different self-healing mechanisms can be adapted to produce even more versatile materials.
Gels and synthetic rubbers can easily adjust their shape in response to changes in their surroundings, like temperature or acidity.
This turns out to be incredibly useful in designing intelligent materials for sensors, drug delivery devices, and many other applications.
Mechanophores, for example, are molecular units that can alter the properties of a polymer when subjected to mechanical forces. These could have any number of industrial applications, especially through the incorporation of self-healing technology.
Nanomaterials are synthetic composites that are less than 100 nm in length. They are clustered together in multiple rows to produce an incredibly light and flexible, yet durable synthetic material.
Due to these properties, nanomaterials have several essential applications in aviation and space, chemicals, and aeronautics, as well as in products related to optics, solar hydrogen, fuel cells, batteries, sensors, and power generation.
Also, given that one of the most pressing challenges of our time is finding alternative, environmentally-friendly energy sources, nanomaterials are a crucial component in applications such as solar cells, paints, and other applications in green chemistry.
Graphene has emerged as one of the most promising nanomaterials because of its unique combination of exceptional properties.
This disruptive technology could open up new markets and even replace existing technologies or materials. No other material has the breadth of graphene’s superlatives, making it ideal for countless applications.
From medicine, electronics, and defense, to desalination, art restoration, and alternative fuels, the impact of graphene research is substantial.
Substantial research and production of nanomaterials like graphene are already on their way. HydroGraph, through its patented HydroGraph process, has been able to create a highly efficient and low impact process to mass-produce graphene powder.
Click here to learn more about HydroGraph and its wide array of product offerings.
Over $2 billion in investments has been injected into the cultured foods market since 2020. Here are 5 reasons why they’re here to stay.
Imagine a world where humans can thrive without harming any animals for food.
By cutting meat consumption and shifting to a plant-based diet, we could reduce greenhouse gases by 70% by 2050 and spare 105 animals per person each year.
Cellular agriculture has the power to make this shift less daunting. The infographic above from CULT Food Science (CSE: CULT) explores five reasons why foods produced from cell cultures could make this world a reality.
First things first, the term cellular agriculture describes the process of growing animal agricultural products directly from cell cultures instead of using livestock.
Foods produced from cell cultures—also known as cultured foods—can provide a promising solution to a wide range of problems we are currently facing.
Sounds too good to be true? Let’s dive into some of the reasons cultured foods are here to stay:
With populations rising at an unprecedented pace, more healthy and affordable food options are required urgently.
Cultured foods can provide a more efficient solution compared to conventional meat. In fact, it takes just 2-3 weeks to create a cultured meat product compared to the 52 weeks+ it takes to raise a farm animal such as a cow.
Compared to animal-sourced industries, food produced from cell cultures could also be more resilient to supply chain disruptions.
Conventional agriculture contributes 15% of all emissions globally, with beef producing the highest level of greenhouse gases per serving.
A cultured foods manufacturing plant on the other hand could produce emissions that are:
The caveat is that these figures refer to a plant that uses renewable energy. Foods created from cell cultures also require less land and water use, meaning they could be an more environmentally friendly option overall.
In 2021, the price of meat, poultry, fish, and eggs shot up by 11.9% in the U.S.—the fastest increase since 1990.
While plant-based alternatives have attempted to disrupt the meat market, these products will not experience price parity until at least 2023.
Because this is unchartered territory, there is a huge opportunity for new companies in the cultured foods space to provide solutions for cost reduction at scale.
“Some experts posit that cultured meat products will be cost competitive with traditional meat products within the decade.”
—Food in Canada
The long-term consumption of eating meat has proven to be harmful. In fact, there is a clear link between eating red meat and heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature death according to Harvard Medical School.
Similarly, while there are many benefits to eating plant-based, some plant-based products on the market may contain fillers, added sodium, and higher saturated fats.
In contrast, cultured foods are grown in a safe and controlled environment which comes with several benefits:
Therefore cultured foods could provide a healthier alternative to both meat and plant-based products in the long-run.
Despite rising populations putting pressure on the food supply chain, meat consumption is in fact shrinking.
This means that the market for conventional meat products will be overtaken by other options like plant-based alternatives and cultured meat as soon as 2040.
To keep up with these major market changes, innovation in stem cell research and tissue engineering is accelerating. A whopping $2 billion in investment has been pumped into the market since 2020 according to Crunchbase.
What’s more, we’re starting to see changes in regulation around the world with Singapore being the first nation to legalize the sale of cultured meat products.
CULT Food Science is an innovative investment platform advancing the technology behind the future of food with an exclusive focus on cultured meat, cultured dairy and cell-based foods.
The company’s portfolio spans four continents and includes exposure to a diverse pipeline of:
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>>> Click here to subscribe to the CULT Food Science mailing list.
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