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Study: '60% of meat we eat by 2040 won't be from slaughtered animals'

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By Natalie Huet
Study: '60% of meat we eat by 2040 won't be from slaughtered animals'
Copyright  REUTERS/

A new study has found that by 2040, 60% of the meat we eat won't be from slaughtered animals. Instead, it predicts a massive shift to lab-grown meat alternatives or plant-based products.

"Industrialised meat production faces an image problem and the large-scale livestock industry is viewed by many as an unnecessary evil," reads the report by consultancy AT Kearney.

"New biotechnology methods will disrupt not only the meat industry but the complete food industry as products such as milk, egg white, gelatin, and fish can be created with similar technology."

The trend has already begun, with companies rolling out burgers that look, taste and feel like meat, but contain no meat at all.

So how is lab-grown meat made?

"Cultured meat is made by not slaughtering an animal anymore, but only taking a small biopsy," explains Jonathan Breemhaar, lead engineer at Mosa Meat, a Dutch company that developed its first lab-grown meat burger back in 2013.

From the biopsy – a small piece of tissue – lab workers extract stem cells, which can be grown in the millions and are then used to create the muscle tissue and fat tissue that make up a steak.

The moment you cook the lab-grown meat, "it will smell exactly the same as normal meat, it will taste the same," Breemhaar said in an interview on Euronews Now.

Would you eat it?

With consumers increasingly aware of the heavy environmental impact of industrialised meat production and more concerned about animal welfare, companies like Mosa Meat and Beyond Meat are hoping they stand to benefit.

"The way we see it, using technology, making things much more transparent will be more appealing to the general public," Breemhard said.