As the cultivated meat revolution gathers pace around the world, two first-of-a-kind studies have proven that cell-based meat provides major benefits to the climate and environment. The studies, which were supported by the Good Food Institute, show that cultivated meat could be cost-competitive with multiple forms of slaughtered animal meat by 2030.
The main findings from the study demonstrate that, when compared with beef from cows, cultivated meat can result in up to 92% less global warming and 93% less air pollution, as well as 95% less land. When renewable energy is used in the production of both forms, 78% less water is used. These significant findings add to the growing amount of evidence that the future of meat is cell-based in the race to net-zero emissions.
The studies model a future large-scale cultivated meat production facility and show that by 2030, the cost of meat grown from cells when manufactured at scale could drop to $5.66 per kg ($2.57 per pound). The two studies – a life cycle assessment and techno-economic assessment – are the first reports to be informed by data contributed by companies involved in the cultivated meat supply chain. Over 15 companies participated, including five cultivated meat manufacturers.
Beyond emissions, the global human health benefits associated with cell-based production are huge in terms of zoonotic disease transmission and antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, with animal meat using up to 19 times more land than cultivated beef, a transition from animal agriculture to cultivated meat production will free up land to restore ecosystems and sequester carbon. Not to mention the ethical concerns regarding the needless slaughter of billions of animals every year.
GFI Senior Scientist Elliot Swartz: “As soon as 2030, we expect to see real progress on costs for cultivated meat and massive reductions in emissions and land use brought about by the transition to this method of meat production. This research signals a vote of confidence and serves as a practical roadmap for the industry to address technical and economic bottlenecks, which will further reduce climate impacts and costs. Government investment in R&D and infrastructure will be critical to accelerating the development of cultivated meat and help us achieve global climate goals. Favorable policies and carbon markets can incentivize the restoration of agricultural land for its carbon sequestration and ecosystem services potential, maximizing the climate benefits of cultivated meat.”