Let’s be honest, many of us have a hard time resisting meat. We might have heard about the negative impacts of meat consumption, but we can’t help but be seduced by it – by its taste, its smell or even just by seeing it! This urge doesn’t come as a surprise when we look at the history of our species. It is believed that we owe much of our energy-hungry brains to the cooking and consumption of meat. Thus, according to Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham, we are a species “designed to love meat”. Unfortunately, traditional meat production comes with serious drawbacks such as energy-inefficiency, contribution to climate change, excessive land use, water waste, and the breeding of super pathogens.
A solution to these problems would be to provide a substitute, something which still tastes like meat, but doesn’t quite have the negative consequences tied to it. Here plant-based and cell-based meat come in and may very well revolutionize the industry. Plant-based meat boasts a track-record of growth in China and a tradition reaching back hundreds of years. Buddhist monasteries offered vegetarian food as early as a thousand years ago. Pilgrims could feast on sophisticated imitations of anything from “shark’s fin” to “abalone”. What’s more, plant-based products appeal to a large portion of today’s population, with Chinese customers almost twice as likely to spend money on these products than customers in the US. With China’s plant-based meat industry still in its infancy, product quality is bound to improve and become more competitive in the future.
The other big meat alternative is meat grown from stem-cells, often referred to as cultivated or clean meat, since it doesn’t harm any animals in the process. Since the first lab-grown burger was presented in 2013, prices of cultured meat have been falling dramatically. In 2018 the Dutch start-up Mosa Meat projected the cost of a hamburger to be around 10 USD within a year from now, based on technologies currently available. Being tightly controllable during production, cultured meat has the potential to offer a superior product in terms of taste, variety and quality of ingredients. Moreover, it will be vastly more sustainable than its traditional counterpart and a dramatic improvement from an animal welfare perspective. Most importantly, its underlying technologies have been successfully demonstrated with investments and research ramping up to bring it to market.
Mounting a significant challenge to the status quo of the industry, meat alternatives are likely to change the market forever – and benefit us in the process of it. Join us to learn more about Planted Foods and Avant Meats, two up-and-coming players in this field.
(Tobias Bolli – Junior Project Manager Academic Relations at Swissnex in China)
16:05-16:30 Presentation and Q&A
(Carrie Chan – Co-Founder & CEO of Avant Meats Company Limited)
16:30-16:55 Presentation and Q&A
(Pascal Bieri – Co-Founder at Planted Foods)
Carrie ChanCo-Founder & CEO of Avant Meats Company Limited
Carrie is a seasoned business executive with a passion for the environment, particularly the impact of our food supply on the planet. Her expertise is in general management and project delivery. She managed major real estate developments from ground zero to full operation. At Avant Meats, Carrie provides the vision, guides the strategy and supervises the implementation. The company’s technology platform focus on fish and seafood products tailored for the food culture of consumers in China and in the region.
Pascal BieriCo-Founder at Planted Foods
Pascal has received a Master of Arts at the University of St. Gallen in information, media, and technology management. After gathering a wealth of experience in the Swiss and US food industry he cofounded Planted, an ETH spin-off dedicated to making “meat” entirely from plants. Its current chicken meat was considered the best product in multiple tastings and even managed to win over Chefs of Gault-Millau restaurants as customers. Today Planted products can be bought in more than 550 Coop shops in Switzerland.