The rise of the synthetic meat industry

2 min. reading
Vegetarianism / 13 June, 2021
The rise of the synthetic meat industry

Karla García Gil Journalist

Vegetable meat, vegan meat or synthetic meat as it is also called, is a plant-based food that is used to replace animal meat in vegan and vegetarian diets.

Meat substitutes are growing in popularity, such is the case of hamburgers and vegetable sausages. This is largely due to the fact that vegetable proteins have multiple health benefits, since they do not contain cholesterol and have less saturated fats than animal proteins. According to Euromonitor International data, global sales of vegetable meat will increase 24% in 2020, reaching 4.2 billion dollars. One factor that could influence this upturn is that 25% of Americans between 25 and 34 years of age claim to be vegetarians or vegans.

In Latin America, 22% of consumers say they want to reduce their meat consumption because they are increasingly aware of its negative impacts. Mexico is the country with the highest number of people who do not eat meat in the region. Nineteen percent are vegetarian, 15 percent flexitarian and 9 percent vegan.

But the development of vegetable meat not only changes the origin of animal protein for health reasons, but also contributes to the reduction of contamination caused by livestock breeding and, therefore, the reduction of animals slaughtered. If this technology becomes widespread, it could be an alternative for the food industry in the future.According to figures from the global consulting firm AT Kearney, by the year 2040, most of the meat consumed in the world will come from lab-grown or plant-based meat options. So such a future is not exactly far off.

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Healthy foods that help you control your weight

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Examples of vegetable meat

There are several types of plant-based meats, and processed foods such as burgers and sausages are produced from them.

  1. Seitan

Seitan is the vegan meat par excellence, due to its high nutritional value and its texture. It is made from gluten (wheat protein) and is presented in the form of a compact dough with a spongy consistency. This protein is easily found in supermarkets and organic stores and is the one that provides the highest protein intake.

  1. Textured soy

Soy meat is obtained from the soybean bean. Once hydrated, it acquires a fibrous consistency similar to animal meat. There are several formats, the most common being texturized soy, which resembles ground meat, but there are also other presentations in which it is sold as different stews, practically exact replicas of traditional meat.

  1. In vitro meat

Lab-created meat is made from stem cells extracted from animals, so it is also known as cultured meat or in vitro meat.

In December 2020, Singapore and Israel became the first countries in the world to produce and market meat created in a laboratory. Such protein for human consumption can already be purchased in those countries.

It is worth noting that regardless of its types and characteristics, the plant-based meat industry stands out as an attractive and potentially profitable market for investors, who see it as a sector with high potential for the future.


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