Given the remove most of us have from the supply chain that provides our chicken strips, burgers and bacon, would it really make a difference to you if your ‘meat’ was tissue grown in a lab, or some vegetable-based substitute? Ultimately it may come down to a question of cost, as lab-grown meat products become cheaper than the real thing.
Despite high-profile deals in the sector, the industrial meat industry faces a rising tide of challenges, in the form of interrelated business, ethical, and environmental concerns. Today, they also face a unique political situation — since the US and China entered into their trade conflict, shares of WH Group have dropped nearly 50%.
Meanwhile, startups using technology to engineer meat in labs or manufacture it from plant-based products are rising in popularity. Meatless food products from beef-free burgers to pea-based shrimp threaten the future of the meat giants.
In addition to offering new products, these startups have the potential to upend all parts of the meat production process.
Going forward, the meat value chain could be simplified dramatically, as the “clean meat” lab or factory could take the place of farms, feed lots, and slaughterhouses.