UC Davis Inaugurates Integrative Center for Alternative Meat and Protein Research

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) unveils the Integrative Center for Alternative Meat and Protein (iCAMP) aimed at revolutionizing the alternative protein sector through widespread commercial adoption efforts and technological progress in the field of alternative proteins.

“We have to come up with alternatives and create additional sustainable food sources”

David Block, the center director and professor in chemical engineering and viticulture, cites that the global meat demand is projected to surge by 50% to 100% over the next quarter-century, emphasizing the urgency of developing sustainable alternatives. He states, “Expansion of conventional animal agriculture is unlikely to be able to meet demand at a reasonable price. We have to come up with alternatives and create additional sustainable food sources.”

iCAMP brings together a diverse mix of experts including top researchers, industry professionals, advocacy groups, and food innovators, united in their commitment to creating a more sustainable global food system. The center’s strategy also involves collaboration with various institutions and organizations, including UCLA, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the USDA.

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© Blue Nalu

Research efforts at iCAMP aim to bolster consumer acceptance of various alternative proteins, including cultivated meat, plant-based, and fungi, seeking a comprehensive understanding of consumer preferences, focusing on aspects like taste, nutrition, and cost. Block comments, “We are not to the point where the product is anywhere near the cost of conventional meat. Widespread distribution of affordable products is likely to take 10 to 15 years.” The center also prioritizes workforce development, offering education and training to foster industry growth.

Support from California legislature

Additionally, the UC Davis Cultivated Meat Consortium, led by Block and the first academic group to receive federal funding for cultivated meat research, will now integrate into iCAMP, playing a pivotal role in advancing cell-based meat technologies at the center. The California legislature’s $5 million allocation for alternative protein research across UC campuses, including UC Davis, UCLA, and UC Berkeley, is a vital support for this initiative.

iCAMP’s official launch is marked by an Innovation Day today at the UC Davis Robert Mondavi Center for Wine and Food Science, showcasing the collaborative efforts in alternative meat and protein research.

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