They've applied the same analysis to the raising of livestock and think that by 2035 that the market for livestock of all forms will have massively collapsed, being replaced by range of low cost high tech man-made equivalents to beef and dairy. This will be in the form of proteins created by "precision fermentation" used to make pretty much anything you want in an industrial process, as well as cell culture based actual meat. The cost of this is dropping exponentially. Precision fermentation was initially used to synthesise insulin, at an astronomical cost, but it was cheaper and more consistent than killing 50,000 cows per kilo. Now prices have fallen so that we are in a few tens of dollars per kilo for any protein you can convince yeast to churn out, and prices are continuing to fall.
I buy a bunch of it, for example animal proteins are key ingredients for a range of processes and products, and are already starting to be replaced by fermented equivalents (eg: brewed egg white proteins by Clara Foods going into processed foods, and rennet for cheese making). Need some collagen, brew some; some casein, brew some; want a meatier tasting veggie burger, brew some cow proteins and add those to your burger. These industrially created replacements for cow/sheep/fish proteins are only going to get ever cheaper and better. So cheap ground veggie-meat, shredded veggie-shrimp indistinguishable from dead animals will be adopted purely on cost grounds, and if you can make it 'better' by customising the mix going into your product, you get healthier food as well.Executive Summary wrote:We are on the cusp of the deepest, fastest, most consequential disruption in food and agricultural production since the first domestication of plants and animals ten thousand years ago.
This is primarily a protein disruption driven by economics. The cost of proteins will be five times cheaper by 2030 and 10 times cheaper by 2035 than existing animal proteins, before ultimately approaching the cost of sugar. They will also be superior in every key attribute – more nutritious, healthier, better tasting, and more convenient, with almost unimaginable variety. This means that, by 2030, modern food products will be higher quality and cost less than half as much to produce as the animal-derived products they replace.
The impact of this disruption on industrial animal farming will be profound. By 2030, the number of cows in the U.S. will have fallen by 50% and the cattle farming industry will be all but bankrupt. All other livestock industries will suffer a similar fate, while the knockon effects for crop farmers and businesses throughout the value chain will be severe.
that have allowed us to make huge strides in precision fermentation, a process that allows us to program microorganisms to produce almost any complex organic molecule. These advances are now being combined with an entirely new model of production we call Food-as-Software, in which individual molecules engineered by scientists are uploaded to databases – molecular cookbooks that food engineers anywhere in the world can use to design products in the same way that software developers design apps. This model ensures constant iteration so that products improve rapidly, with each version superior and cheaper than the last.
If this happens, the environmental benefits will be huge, as will the impact of food security, cheap good quality protein brewed up or grown wherever and whenever it is needed throughout the world.
I'm not sure I accept all of it though. So while the veggies may get a nicer range of foods (I'm typing this as I eat a Quorn sausage), and some folk will happily try a cheap and tasty veggie-steak and possibly flip over, food is deeply cultural, barbecue ribs, saltimbocca, ribeye steaks, roast turkey, bacon sarnies etc... There will be resistance to it in many quarters (eg: the Piers Morgans), and I wonder how far it could penetrate.
Any folk familiar with the technologies or markets have 2p to add?