Today, around 97% of the world’s population is non-vegetarian. A large number of non-vegetarians all over the world consume meat by killing animals for food, making China a 95% non-vegetarian country.
1. Why Artificial Meat?
We can have cruelty-free meat thanks to the invention of artificial meat. Artificial meat is a blessing for all non-vegetarians. We can eat guilt-free meat due to fake meat.
The effect of consuming meat on the environment is hazardous. Today, many people are shifting to a vegan diet. But people obsessed with nonveg can’t get rid of it.
1.1 Meat From Ancient Times
We humans, from the beginning of evolution, used to eat meat. Archaeologists have found the tools used in hunting. Also, the earliest evidence that humans were carnivores is around 3.4 million years ago.
1.2 Meat at Global Levels
For the development of humans, meat’s protein and fat content are crucial. Globally, daily, we consume 365 million tonnes of meat. The consumption of meat in countries like the USA and Australia is 120 kg per person.
Which leads to the meat industry being the biggest in the world. But at the same time, the meat industry is the biggest contributor to glasshouse gases. So, for this reason, many people think about cutting meat completely from their diet.
But cutting meat from the diet is not possible for everyone. Especially for people who consume meat regularly. But what if we could eat meat without harming the animals?
Artificial meat made it possible! Many scientists are still working on it. In this article, we are going to discuss the same thing.
So, let’s start!
2. Artificial Meat
Artificial meat is a way through which we can save our planet and animals. Lab-grown meat is the savior. The idea of growing meat without killing any animals is fantastic. In 2013, the first lab-grown meat burger was created.
2.1 Method Of Making Artificial Meat In Earlier Times
Artificial meat is created by regenerative science. The basics for this begin with stem cells. Stem cells are those that can generate any part of the body.
Stem cells can become almost any cell in the body. Firstly, we have to harvest the stem cells to create artificial meat. We have to go for the primary source of desired meat for harvesting stem cells.
Next, we have to take a tissue sample of the desired meat. We can take this sample without killing or harming the animal. We isolated multipotent stem cells from the sample.
Also, after the addition of different growth factors, cells differentiate into specialized cells. The muscle cell is an example of a specialized cell. Also, We can differentiate these cells into the type that we need.
We can grow a single stem muscle cell into one trillion muscle cells. But there was a problem while creating the meat. The problem is that it is not animal-free!
As mentioned above, for the process, we need a special type of serum. The name of the serum is FBS serum. The FBS stands for fetal bovine serum. The dying fetuses of slaughtered cows give us this serum.
2.1.1 The Bovine-Serum Problem
For making the serum, one has to remove the fetus from pregnant cows. We have to drain out all the blood from the fetus. The fetus dies a slow death after this.
Then we have to refine this blood. After all this processing, we get the fetal bovine serum. All lab-grown meat requires this serum. This FBS prevents stem cells from suicide.
The FBS is the essential ingredient for all lab-grown meat. But FBS is an ingredient that completely defeats the purpose of artificial meat.
We require around 50 litres of bovine serum for making one burger patties. One normal cow’s fetus can generate150–550ml of serum. It means that to create one Pattie, we need around 90–300 fetuses. This is even worse than traditional slaughterhouses.
Until we find a completely plant-based serum, this serum is not worth it.
But there is no need to worry; many new companies are emerging today that are trying to create synthetic serums.
2.1.2 Synthetic Serum
The synthetic serum is completely plant-based. But this is highly expensive. The price tag of such lab-grown meat products is over the top.
The biggest hurdle to overcome is the cost of completely synthetic and lab-grown meat. A pound of synthetic artificial meat grown by current technology costs around $10,000.
2.2 Other Problems In Earlier Artificial Meat
Today, complete plant-based artificial meat is possible. It is not just vegetarian, but it is vegan, i.e., not even a single part of it is from animals. Artificial meat in the future will be healthier than today.
People will prefer artificial meat over natural meat in the future. This is because the health benefits of plant-based artificial meat will increase daily. So, artificial meat is the best way to save the world and animals. Also, the use of artificial meat in our diet will give us many health benefits.
Thanks to the number of partners and investors who play a crucial role in growing the artificial meat industry, up until 2020, the industry was worth 1.4 billion dollars. In 2027, we can expect it to be around 13.8 billion dollars.
Vegetable meat substitutes are healthier than real meat. But how do we produce plant-based artificial meat? Let’s discuss it!
3. How Do We Produce Plant-Based Artificial Meat?
Artificial meat is a good fiber, iron, and folic acid source. Also, artificial meat has low levels of saturated fat.
Scientists use popular meat substitutes in plant-based artificial meat.
Let’s see some popular meat substitutes.
Tofu has been Asia’s basic source of nutrients for centuries. It is a low-calorie protein source. Tofu easily absorbs aromas and spices. So tofu is the most versatile dish.
We make tofu by grinding soybeans in water. After this, we heat the tofu and then condense it with minerals. Minerals may be calcium or magnesium. And then the tofu is curdled and pressed into blocks.
So we make tofu from soaked soybeans. Then we mash the soaked soybeans with water. It forms a Soft puree. Filtration of soft puree separates hard components from it. Then we heat the remaining liquid for condensation. Okara is the remaining solid matter.
The dehydrated okara is used as meat chunks. We can fulfil the need for meat by using plant-based artificial meat. We can try different recipes from this.
We have used soybeans as meat substitutes since earlier times. It is dehydrated soy protein. We can use it conveniently in any dish. Soybeans are the best alternative to meatballs, patties, etc.
It is a popular traditional food from Indonesia. We make the tempeh by fermenting and boiling soybeans. It is also considered a popular meat substitute.
Seitan is also a meat substitute. It is wheat protein. It has a lot of gluten. Gluten is the main meat substitute. We use gluten in various plant-based meat products.
3.4 Lupin Protein
Protein is found primarily in legumes. Also, it is considered a future meat substitute. Lupin protein is best cultivated in Europe due to the favourable atmosphere. Again, we can use this lupin protein while making plant-based kababs, sausages, and patties.
Not just above, but we have so many meat substitutes.
4. Plant-Based Artificial Meat
The plant-based artificial meat is created by using the meat substitutes mentioned above.
The use of soybeans in artificial meat gives it a meat-like texture. So, the soft gluten gives a chewy, stretchy nature to the artificial meat. Also, various proteins are used in it.
Imagine Food is an Indian artificial meat-making company. They create completely vegan meat. Vegan meat is a textured vegetable protein. So, by using this plant-based artificial meat, you can have your favourite meat without killing animals.
As we have seen above, artificial meat is created by the serum. This serum is obtained from the dying fetuses of cows. So, using artificial intelligence is not of much use.
That is why plant-based meat can be considered the best artificial meat. If the non-vegetarian population of the world considers eating plant-based meat, then it will reduce greenhouse gases significantly. Now one more type of artificial meat is available, i.e., 3D-printed artificial meat.
5. 3D-Printed Artificial Meat
The 3D-printed artificial meat is healthier, and greener, and represents a portion of future food. In the process, proteins are taken from the plants and built up in 3D layers by a 3D printer. This process will produce entirely plant-based fake meat.
The three main components of meat are muscle, fat, and blood. So, to create perfect fake meat, we have to mimic these components.
Through 3D printing, we can create the whole meat cut as needed. Also, the cost of this meat will be significantly lower. 3D printing technology can better recreate the taste and appearance of real meat.
By shifting to fake meat, we can save mother earth. Whether it is plant-based artificial meat or 3D-printed meat, our ultimate mission will be fulfilled.
Now, let us discuss the health effects of plant-based meat.
6. Is Plant-Based Meat Healthy?
There are many pros and cons to plant-based artificial meat. So, whenever we use any product, we must think about both sides of the coin. Then, let’s see some pros and cons of plant-based artificial meat.
6.1 Pros of Artificial Meat
Plant-based foods have many health benefits. As you know, plant-based meat is derived only from plants. It has a lot of protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Also, these plant-based meats are low in calories.
Additionally, vegan meat is free from any antibiotics, hormones, or nitrates that are found in real meat.
Again, plant-based meat will help us reduce the demands of animal agriculture.
Especially plant-based meats are more convenient than traditional ones. Plant-based meat is easy and quick to cook. Again, due to the versatility of plant-based meat, the industry of artificial meat will grow significantly very soon.
Plant-based meat can help in the transition from nonvegetarians to vegetarians. It is not possible to cut meat directly from the diet. But due to plant-based meat, it is easy!
6.2 Cons of Plant-Based Meat
One of its biggest cons is that it contains highly processed ingredients. There are many benefits to eating plant-based meat. We process the plant-based meat to make it look like real red meat.
Processing includes adding phosphate proteins and processed oil.
The plant-based meat product contains yeast extract. Monosodium glutamate is also an ingredient in it. This can mess up your blood pressure. Also, it may cause reactions.
Again, we use cultured dextrose as a preservative in plant-based meat. This may cause digestive issues.
Modified starch, one of the ingredients in fake meat, is also not good for us. It has a high risk of contamination. It causes allergic reactions and inflammation.
Methylcellulose from plant-based meat is also a harmful ingredient. It may promote gastrointestinal inflammation.
Natural flavours are also added to plant-based meat. It is not as natural as its name suggests! These are often lab-synthesized flavours. It beavers anal secretions highly.
Many plant-based meat products contain sodium. Plant-based meat contains a higher level of sodium than real meat. Having more sodium in the diet than recommended is not good for your health. It may cause high blood pressure. Also, it may lead to stroke or heart disease.
Vegan meat also has some potential allergens, such as weed or soy proteins. If you are allergic to it, then it’s better to stay away from it. Instead, you can go for soy-protein-free vegetable meat, which is also available in the market.
7. Everything at Glance
Above, we have discussed earlier methods of creating artificial meat. But due to the cruel serum needed for it and the cost of synthetic serums, it is not convenient.
So, for these reasons, we developed techniques to produce artificial meat. It was even convenient for vegans too. It is available in different forms, like sausages, kababs.
Beef, chicken, fish, eggs—everything has its vegetarian version in plant-based artificial meat. These make it more versatile. The uses of artificial meat are innumerable.
All people who may be vegetarian, nonvegetarian, eggetarian, or vegan can enjoy this plant-based meat. These plant-based meats reduce the greenhouse effect by 90%.
Finally, we must say that artificial meat or plant-based meat has its uses. But this is just one side of the coin. There are also many negative sides to this artificial meat. So, considering the negative effects of artificial meat is also important.
There are many positive health effects of Plant-based artificial meat. But along with it, there are many negative things in it. The vast processing and extra sodium amount are the reason for it.
If we can reduce the use of preservatives and harmful chemicals from it, this will be a good option. Also in the future, if scientists were able to discover other healthier alternatives for these ingredients, it will be a great achievement.
So, we cannot say it is completely healthy, but we must say it is healthier than traditional, real red meat. Scientists are working hard to give real meat-like flavour to plant-based meat.
If we include this plant-based meat in our diet, we will not only improve our health but also save Mother Nature and animals.
We have discussed a lot about artificial meat. What do you think? Is it okay to add plant-based meat to our diet? What improvements can be made to artificial meat? Also, don’t forget to share the article.