How meat will reinvent itself in 2020 – Beef Magazine

I recently read an article that suggested packers should blend plant-based proteins with raw beef products. Frankly, this feels like a move your mom would make in an ill-fated attempt to sneak spinach into the meat loaf or spaghetti.

Market your product anyway you like, but please make sure it’s labeled if you do! When I go to the grocery store, I want the real deal. I’m not looking for a “wannabe” imitation product, thank you very much!

Turns out, other consumers feel the same way. That’s according to a recent trends analysis conducted by NewNutrition Business.

Julian Mellentin, is a consultant to the food and beverage industry and author of the new study, titled, “10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition and Health 2020.”

Mellentin said, “In an era where plant-based is getting all the attention, and meat is under attack, creative meat producers are taking steps to reinvent their category, for example with convenience. They’re moving away from selling big lumps of meat that people have to take home and prepare, to providing easy-to-use products such as meat snacks, sales of which are growing steadily in many countries.”

So how will meat reinvent itself in 2020? Meat as a convenient snack will drive sales in the upcoming year. The global meat snacks market was valued at $7 billion in 2019, according to the report, with an anticipated growth of 7-8% in the next five years. In the U.S., meat snacks grew 6.7% in 2018. And around the world countries including India, China, Brazil and Turkey are quickly developing a taste for convenient meat snacks on the go.

I’m on the road quite a bit for speaking engagements, and this is exciting news for me personally. I love to have options for protein-dense snacks at the gas station, convenience store or airport that I can eat on the run.

The data also showed that consumers want to hear more about sustainability and animal welfare. It also shows that companies who are able to effectively communicate these messages will earn premium prices.

According to the report, “U.S. sales of meat with health or environmental claims are growing rapidly, led by ‘organic,’ up 13.1%, and ‘grass-fed,’ up 12.2%.

Mellentin added, “It’s worth remembering that although meat substitutes are getting lots of media attention, they’re a tiny niche. Sales of organic meat by itself are bigger than those of meat substitutes.”

As meat reinvents itself, flipping misconceptions about health and the environment into talking points about the facts, they will reach a new generation of consumers, who will naturally gravitate toward convenient, sustainable and quality products.

NewNutrition Business said, “It’s a transformation that will be welcomed by consumers. In the U.S. and in the E.U., meat sales have increased in recent years. Americans spent $850 million more on beef alone in 2018-2019 than they did the previous year, and $350 million more on meat snacks. Their additional spending on meat substitutes, by contrast, was just $100 million.”

Mellentin says this growth in sales is because consumers prefer the taste of meat and perceive it to be a high-quality protein. What’s more, diet trends including low carb and kept are giving a resurgence to increased meat consumption.

“Recently-published scientific studies that question the negatives around meat and health are welcome news to consumers, who love to hear that something they enjoy is also good for them – as happened with red wine and chocolate,” said Mellentin.

While most of us aren’t directly involved in direct sales of premium snack products, there is certainly an opportunity to find yourself in a niche and supply to companies who want specific things that consumers are demanding.

Per the report, “Creative meat companies are improving their planetary health profile by taking steps to, for example, improve their sequestration of greenhouse gases, something that will become more common and alleviate the common criticism often made against cattle and sheep.”

“Sustainable” beef snacks for busy on-the-go consumers will be king in 2020. As for the plant-based guys, you can try to sneak your subpar products by blending it into beef, but I suspect, consumers won’t bite as you hope.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

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Blue Ocean Barns Seaweed Supplement Makes Cows Burp Less, Cuts Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Forbes

A startup called Blue Ocean Barns has a seaweed supplement that reduces methane emissions from cows. A climate tech booster called Elemental Excelerator recently recently fed the effort, which means more cows will be eating the supplement and burping out fewer methane emissions.

Cows emit methane when they digest grasses and other feeds. One dairy cow can emit enough to equal the annual tailpipe emissions from one car (cows also have tailpipe emissions). Consider that there’s about 1.5 billion cattle in the world, and you can see how cow emissions contribute to the climate crisis.

Blue Ocean Barns received $100,000 from the accelerator, one of 17 “Earthshot Companies” recently backed by the organization, according to Danya Hakeem, a director at Elemental Excelerator, based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and East Palo Alto, California.

Elemental Excelerator says of Blue Ocean Barns (note the hamburger reference):

“Carbon dioxide is far from the only harmful greenhouse gas. Methane makes up 10% of total emissions, and one of the primary sources of methane emissions is, believe it or not, cow burps.

“In fact, the digestive processes of livestock including cows and buffalo are responsible for approximately 4% of global GHG emissions. But tackling that problem doesn’t mean we need to eliminate hamburgers from our diets. Dietary supplements like the one created by Blue Ocean Barns, which uses a seaweed-based additive, can help them burp less. How much less? Supplementing the feed of one dairy cow provides the climate benefit equivalent to converting two or more cars from gas to electric.”

Not everyone may agree that this supplement is enough to quell calls for eating less meat.

Still, Blue Ocean Barns says adding its seaweed supplement to a cow’s diet can dramatically reduce or even eliminate burped methane emissions.

How much needs to be added to a cow’s diet?

“We’re still figuring out all the ins-and-outs of feeding to cattle,” says Joan Salwen, CEO at Blue Ocean Barns.

“In early trials we used some wimpy seaweed, slightly out of season, and we had to feed more to get good results than the cows wanted to eat. The amount of strong seaweed needed daily varies based on the weight of the steer or dairy cow and the type of diet fed.”

But the startup has measured “dramatic reductions” in methane emissions of greater than 70% in steers that were fed about 1/3 cup of the ingredient as part of their 22 pounds of dry matter intake a day.

“It’s not much—more like a condiment or garnish than a main event,” she says. “But a little does a lot.”

You may have tried the same seaweed (and reaped the benefits?), since it’s used as poke bowl condiment in some Hawaii restaurants. It grows in waters off of San Diego and Baja, California. The startup, based in Redwood City, California, says natural oils in the seaweed stop the formation of methane.

Salwen says multiple cultivation and harvesting systems are in the prototype stage, including traditional smallholder farming, large-scale seaweed farming and tank systems. The supplement isn’t on the market, yet, but is being used on university farms. Boosters include Mars Wrigley and Land O’Lakes, which tapped Blue Ocean Barns for a $200,000 pilot project in September.

Salwen notes that a California law requires dairies to reduce their methane emissions by 40% by 2030.

“Currently available methane reduction interventions, focused on manure management, have enabled substantial progress toward (the) goal but are insufficient to the challenge. We are hearing from California producers that our solution, appropriate for use on both large and very small farms, is needed and cannot arrive soon enough.”

As for those hamburgers:

“We believe that nature holds the solution to many agricultural ‘problems,’” the CEO adds. “Grazing livestock that are moved regularly within sections of pasture are critical to maintaining agricultural soil health. Seaweed farming benefits both the ocean and the economy.

“Americans want choices when it comes to sustainability, whether in transportation, energy or food. We can preserve what is best in our livestock system while partnering with nature to eliminate gas emissions. We envision a future in which affordable, climate-friendly beef and dairy products, produced by real cattle, are on their way to market within a few years.”

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Impact We're very close to disrupting the cow – Fast Company

We’re very close to disrupting the cow

By 2030, these scientists estimate the number of cows in the U.S. will have fallen by 50% and the beef and dairy industries will have collapsed as animal-derived foods are replaced by modern equivalents.

We’re very close to disrupting the cow
[Source Images: GlobalP/iStock, Mai Vu/iStock]

An unstoppable trifecta of fast-improving technology, new business models, and fast-falling costs is creating the deepest, most consequential disruption of food and agriculture in ten thousand years. We face the end of the cattle industry as we know it, and the exponential market growth of inexpensive, high-quality, tasty modern food designed using food-as-software technology based on precise consumer specifications.

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If the U.S. embraces these cheaper and more nutritional modern foods, it can seize a fat slice of an industry that is poised to create 1 million jobs and grow to $1 trillion annually by 2035. If it resists, it risks locking in expensive and obsolete assets, technologies, and skill sets while other countries capture the jobs and wealth that come with building a world-leading industry.

The key to understanding the speed and scale of this disruption is recognizing what happens when the most essential contents of a product are replaced quickly and cheaply. A bottle of milk contains only 3.3% protein. Replace that and there goes the need for a dairy cow. Those proteins—casein and whey—are already being produced in Silicon Valley. We expect these proteins to reach cost parity with animal proteins around 2023 to 2025.

This is not just one disruption: It’s death by a thousand cuts. In our new report, “Rethinking Food and Agriculture 2020-2030,” we analyze the way many different products derived from the cow—from burgers and milk to leather and collagen—will be completely disrupted separately and concurrently by new technologies and business models, which overlap, reinforce, and accelerate each other.

By 2030, we estimate the number of cows in the U.S. will have fallen by 50% and the beef and dairy industries will have collapsed as animal-derived foods are replaced by modern equivalents that are superior and cost less than half as much to produce. All other livestock industries will suffer a similar fate, while businesses throughout the supply chain, from processing plants and renderers to crop farmers and tractor manufacturers, will be hit hard.

This is a protein disruption driven by economics. We can now program microorganisms to produce almost any protein we want because of huge advances in precision biology (the convergence of biology and information technologies) and a process we call precision fermentation (PF). Today, 90% of American-made cheese uses PF proteins. (This is not genetic modification of foods. Proteins have no genetic material so they can’t be genetically modified.) The cost of PF is falling exponentially, from $1 million per kilogram in 2000 to about $100 today. Assuming existing technologies, we project these costs will fall to $10 per kilogram by 2023 to 25. PF proteins will be five times cheaper than animal proteins by 2030 and 10 times cheaper by 2035.

[Source Images: CreativeNature_nl/iStock, Mai Vu/iStock]

Mainstream analysts fail to foresee the speed, scale, and impact of disruption because their models do not account for the complex, systemic, and dynamic way disruptions unfold.  This is not a simple, one-for-one substitution of Impossible Burger for cow burgers. As protein after protein derived from animals is replaced by less-expensive, higher-quality PF alternatives, it becomes more expensive to produce those animal products in the face of decreasing demand, triggering a death spiral of increasing prices and reversing economies of scale.

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While this disruption is inevitable, decision-makers can affect how fast it happens, how widely it spreads, and who benefits. Will this be a market designed to promote openness, transparency, and competition? Or will it be more like the pharmaceutical industry, dominated by a few monopolies with the power to pervert the benefits? Countries that choose the former model will outcompete those that choose the latter.

The benefits of modern foods are profound.  The average U.S. family will save more than $1,200 a year, keeping an additional $100 billion a year in Americans’ pockets by 2030. Far healthier than industrial animal meat, modern foods will help to reduce heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes, which are estimated to cost Americans $1.7 trillion annually. Removing animals from food production will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2035. It will also free up a landmass as large as the Louisiana Purchase.

The business opportunities are enormous. Everyone needs to eat. Modern food offers the promise of high-quality, nutritious, inexpensive food—and the opportunity to build a multi-trillion-dollar industry that will soon feed the world. This disruption has already started. The time to lead is now.


Tony Seba, an award-winning, best-selling author and Silicon Valley entrepreneur and angel investor, is cofounder of RethinkX, an independent think tank that analyzes and forecasts the scope, speed, and scale of technology-driven disruption and its implications across society.

Catherine Tubb is an expert on the agriculture, pesticide, and fertilizer industries. She coauthored with Seba “Rethinking Food and Agriculture 2020-2030—The Second Domestication of Plants and Animals, the Disruption of the Cow, and the Collapse of Industrial Livestock Farming,” the second in a series of RethinkX reports on technology disruption and its implications for society.

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