Page 1

Are we too


from the source of our meat? PG 06

THE FLEXITARIAN SOLUTION A bit of meat, a lot of veg - the diet to feed 10 billion people without killing the planet.

PG 27

Fake Meat vs


Would you eat


Designed and Curated by Alex Connolly



Everything you need to know before making your mind up about meat.



The History of HUMANS & FOOD

A History of HUMANS & FOOD 05 Part One introduction

07 Alex Connolly

Eating red meat daily triples heart diseaserelated chemical

Are we too disconnected from the source of our meat?

Xanthe Clay The Telegraph


Rise in veggie Meat Sales after Horsemeat Scandal

Sarah Butler The Guardian


Meat, Cooked Foods Needed for Early Human Brain. QUOTE

14 Dr. Stanley L. Hazen

Christopher Wanjek

10 Let them Eat Potatoes

Beans and Mash The Gladiator Diet

Ryleigh Nucillijune History Magazine


Jeff Chapman History Magazine

MEAT & The Climate 17 Part Two introduction

19 Alex Connolly

Avoiding meat and dairy is the ‘biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth

Jess Fanzo and Mario Herrero


Damian Carrington

Plant-based diet can fight climate change - UN

24 Damian Carrington

18 Climate Crisis, we need to reshape the food system Huge reduction in meateating essential to avoid climate breakdown

Meat Less Less Meat

26 The Flexitarian Solution


22 Global Vegetarianism

James Chapman

Roger Harrabin BBC News

Rachel Nuwer BBC Future

The Future of MEAT 31

29 Alex Connolly

Environmental concerns motivate millions to opt for plant-based mea

Fake Meat vs Real Meat

Stephanie Butler


The beef industry is freaking out over plantbased meat? Too bad

The times Editorial board

Part Three Introduction

34 Emily Dao

Would you eat Lab-grown meat?

Catherine Cleary The Irish Times

30 Plant-based diet can fight climate change - UN

Roger Harrabin BBC News



The History of HUMANS & FOOD

This newspaper contains a carefully chosen collection of articles all centred around the theme of meat consumption. As humans we are very protective of our eating habits. Eating is one of the most intimate things we do on a regular basis. We are taking foreign objects and putting them into our body. So it is no wonder we get defensive when people comment on our food, and why it is so difficult to make changes when you've been eating a certain diet for so long. This newspaper begins by exporing the realtionship between humans and meat by looking into the past. It goes on to identify the role meat plays in the environment and finishing with where the future of meat lies. To best enjoy this paper begin with an open mind. Magical things happen when we permit ourselves to adopt a different perspective.

Articles from The Guardian History Magazine The Irish Times Fast Company

Designed and Curated by Alex Connolly

Date of first publication 15.01.20


The History of HUMANS & FOOD

A History of HUMANS & FOOD


The History of HUMANS & FOOD


Meat was crucial for the development of the human brain. Eating meat enabled us to rapidly evolve into who we are today. However just because our ancestors required meat for evolution doesn't mean we need it in our diets today. Humans are consuming more meat than ever before. We kill roughly 75 billion animals each year for food. And demand for meat is on the rise. As meat consumption rises we are becoming more disconnected from the reality of meat. Meat is sanitised, glamourised and neatly packaged. We camouflage the actual source of our meat. Part One covers the history of humans and food, mainly meat. It investigates the disconnect between humans and meat.

Statistics from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, 2019

Vox's 'Explained: The Future of Meat' is a documentary which details the relationship of Humans and Meat extensivley.


The History of HUMANS & FOOD

Are we too DISCONNECTED from the source of our meat? LEARNING FROM

THE PAST This Article is 6 years old.

A butcher’s shop forced to removed the carcases from its display after complaints by the squeamish. Xanthe Clay

24.02.2014 As window displays go, it was impressive. On show at the front of JBS Family Butchers in the Suffolk market town of Sudbury were six mallards, glossyfeathered and with gleaming emerald heads, hung in a pyramid formation. Around them was a fine collection of game, including more than a dozen handsome Peter Rabbits dangling by their heels and a fine goose, white wings akimbo. Topping off this symmetrical masterpiece, two snub-snouted pigs’ heads squinted out at passers-by. An altarpiece to fine eating, you might say. But the townsfolk of Sudbury don’t think so. After anonymous hate mail, letters to the local paper, a Facebook campaign and abuse from customers, assistant manager Richard Nicholson

and his colleagues have taken down the fur, feathers and severed heads and replaced them with a sign that reads “Due to complaints, there is no window display.” Roger Kelsey, chief executive of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders, blames the campaign on the influx of townies to the market town. “Socalled rural Suffolk will have large numbers of townies with weekend retreats… who may be importing their values into the community,” he said. I’m not so sure. After all, butchers in the capital often display carcases in their windows, and nose-to-tail eating has become de rigueur in fashionable restaurants. The Telegraph’s own Stevie Parle served up whole sheeps’ heads to customers in his west London restaurant and had no complaints.

“Who would have thought that PIGGIES would have so much earwax?”


05.03.2013 Quorn, the UK’s biggest vegetarian readymeal brand, is among firms reporting sales growth in February. Quorn’s suprisingly succulent cumberland sausages: the company is having to increase the number of shifts at its fermenting plant to cope with demand. Britons are increasingly turning to vegetarian alternatives amid concerns sparked by the horsemeat scandal, according to food producers.

Quorn, the UK’s biggest vegetarian ready meal brand, said it had seen sales growth more than double in the second half of February as shoppers snapped up its burgers, mince and sausages made from a form of fungus. The company is having to increase the number of shifts at its fermenting plant to cope with demand. Other specialist brands have also

Game birds have been part of the displays in butchers’ shops – at least the ones that have game licences – for centuries. A stroll round Oxford’s Covered Market generally yields a splendid display of feathers dangling from hooks around the shop fronts. I suspect that it was those pigs’ heads that pushed the townsfolk of Sudbury over the edge. For all the cuteness of Peppa Pig, there is something Satanic about a hog’s noggin, disturbingly reminiscent of that pig in the window in the Seventies schlocker The Amityville Horror. Mind you, I have my own reasons to be wary of pigs’ heads. I once let slip to a smallholding friend that I fancied trying my hand at making brawn, a delectable pâté made from piggy bonce, snout and all. The friend arrived, smirking, on my doorstep a few days later with a big bag containing not one but six porcine heads. Now, the thing about pigs is they are bristly buggers – and you don’t want bristles in your head cheese. I lined them up on the kitchen counter and made at them with a razor. An hour and a half and an entire packet of Bic disposables later, a small crowd had gathered on the pavement outside my kitchen window to admire the boar’s barbershop. But worse was to come, as I scrubbed the newly shaved heads in the sink. Who would have thought that

enjoyed a surge in sales since January when regulators found horsemeat in readymade burgers sold in supermarkets. Asda said sales of meat-free foods had been booming in recent weeks as the scandal has widened to include well known brands including Findus and Birds Eye. Fry’s, a South African brand which sells frozen vegetarian sausages and pies mainly to health foods shops such as Holland & Barrett, said sales had risen 30% since the beginning of February, three times the pace of its growth over the last few years. Cauldron Foods, another brand that is owned by Quorn that includes specialist vegetarian options such as tofu as well as vegetarian sausages, has seen sales lift 6% after months without growth. Meanwhile, VeggieDay, a German brand which recently launched in Co-op stores, said sales were greater than forecast and it had seen a burst of interest from retailers. “We have responded to the growth in consumer interest by bringing forward our product development schedule by approximately six months,” the company said. Lisa Drummy, boss of the UK importer of Fry’s, said the company had been contacted by a number of supermarkets after years of being ignored. Fry’s also benefited from a deal to supply meat-free pies to food distributor 3663 after the


THE PAST This Article is 7 years old.

UK foodservice wholesaler found traces of pork in Halal pies it was supplying to prisons. Although she was unsure how long it would last, Drummy said: “We’ve seen a big step up in February; it’s a kneejerk reaction.” Kevin Brennan, the chief executive of Quorn, said the horsemeat scandal had served to highlight the rising cost of meat protein, particularly beef, and those cost pressures would mean more and more people would seek out alternatives in future.

High beef prices are thought to have been a key factor behind the contamination of ready meals with cheaper horsemeat. Beef prices are expected to continue to rise in future. Raising a cow requires the use of a relatively large amount of feedcrops such as wheat or soybeans and, as the world’s population grows, competition for those crops will increase. At the same time, demand for meat is on the rise, particularly in parts of Asia.

piggies would have so much earwax? So I can’t blame the people of Sudbury for giving them a wide berth. Mick Boon, the manager of Sudbury’s other butcher, Meat Inn, was phlegmatic when I called him. “It doesn’t bother me, I’m a butcher. But we have had people in moaning about their display. We’ll sometimes put legs of pork or shoulders of lamb in the window, but never a pig’s head.” But is this symptomatic of a larger malaise? Now that we have become used to picking up a plastic pack of beef in the supermarket, are we too disconnected from the source of our steak? Sure, meat eating has had something of a renaissance and there’s a boom in burger restaurants – but burgers are, after turkey twizzlers, the most sanitised, un‑fleshlike form of meat imaginable. Last year, scientists in Holland even succeeded in growing a burger in a lab – the ultimate in processed meat. With fewer and fewer shops like JBS around, the trend seems likely to continue. The number of butchers in Britain has fallen from 20,000 in the mid-Nineties to just over 6,500 today. But according to Ed Bedington, editor of Meat Trades Journal, there is reason to be optimistic for the future. “It was the less than great butchers that went, the ones who weren’t really valuing customer service. And there’s been a resurgence in good butchers.” However, there's is still cause for concern at the lack of young talent coming through. Leeds City College, the country’s thirdlargest further education college and the biggest to

run butchery courses, reports that while many bakery classes are oversubscribed, butchery has seen a marked reduction in applications to its courses, despite the meat industry being desperate for new entrants. According to the Meat Crusade, a new campaign to bring young people into butchery, about two out of three butchers are facing succession difficulties and the average age of a butcher is now over 50 years old. Graham Symes, a butcher in Henleaze, a smart suburb of Bristol, says: “I’ve tried and tried to get an apprentice, but they can’t stay the course. It’s a three-year commitment, and they find the work too cold or too uncomfortable. They’d rather sit in a nice warm office in front of a computer.” Symes displays game birds in the feather on a butcher’s bicycle outside his shop, but he hasn’t had any trouble. “Young people walking by might go ‘ugh’ and give it a wide berth. But it is very rare that we get bad comments – more often, people come up to have a look and say how great it is. But we are in an area where lots of people shoot or know someone who shoots.” His customers are ageing, though. “It’s a big worry. I’m part of the last generation of old-fashioned butchers, and we’ve brought a generation of customers with us.” National Butchers’ Week next month will focus on attracting younger customers, by encouraging butchers to embrace social media and an idiot’s guide to shopping in a butcher’s shop. Symes welcomes the idea. “With young people,

“Over time beef is going to become more of a luxury,” Brennan said. “People probably won’t continue doing what they are right now but I do think there is genuine potential that they could shift away from meat. It’s not about giving it up altogether but reducing consumption.” Still, meat-free ready meals have some way to go. A YouGov poll commissioned by Quorn about a week ago, which found that just 15% of those questioned were more likely to consider an alternative to meat as a result of the horsemeat saga. Drummy from Fry’s said: “A minority might think what’s happened is awful and people have definitely been put off buying more processed foods but most will carry on eating without looking to see what’s in it.” Asda said that, while Quorn sales were still up, overall sales of meat-free products were beginning to plateau. Amy Price, senior food retail analyst at research firm Mintel, said just 6% of the UK population were vegetarians, although a further 13% choose to avoid red meat. She said: “There are still barriers for meat free on shoppers’ perception of taste and value for money while a third say they don’t know how to cook with meat alternatives.” She added that publicity from those retailers who had worked hard to protect their meat supply chain from contamination by using British farmers who they worked with closely were also comforting shoppers.

Waitrose and Morrisons have both publicised their use of British farmers while last week Tesco said it would try to source more meat in the UK and Ireland as a result of horsemeat being found in some of its food.

“If you are going to eat meat, you need to recognise that it

WAS ALIVE once.”

PLANT MEAT, LAB GROWN MEAT AND THE FLEXITARIAN DIET... To find out more about meat alternatives, part 3 of this paper deals with the future of meat. It takes a look at plant based meat substitutes, the flexitarian diet and cell cultured(lab-grown) meat. Head to page 20


The History of HUMANS & FOOD


An article from the US National Institutes of Health Edited by Alex Connolly.

Eating red meat daily triples heart disease-related chemical TMAO

we aren’t just teaching them about meat, we are teaching them how to shop. They are used to supermarkets where the doors open automatically and there is no human interaction.” Henry Herbert, the younger, taller half of Channel 4’s Fabulous Baker Brothers, who gave up a career as a chef to run a butcher’s shop and train young apprentices in his home town of Tetbury three years ago, has sympathy for JBS Butchers’ approach to marketing. When he took over the shop, he put the butcher’s block in open view, complete with hacksaw and cleavers, so that customers could watch the butchery taking place. “We’ve only had two complaints that it’s too in your face. And young kids are fascinated by it,” he says. “They love seeing the whole carcase and finding out where their chops come from.” That said, even Herbert thinks that the Sudbury display was over the top. “I wouldn’t want a pig’s head in my window, hanging up and staring out. We’ve had them lying on a tray, because some of our customers like to buy them. They cost £5 and you get a lot of meat on them.” Still, he reckons we need to see more of the animal than a line drawing on the front of a cling-wrapped polystyrene tray in the supermarket. “If you are going to eat meat, you need to


Dr. Stanley L. Hazen

08.01.2019 Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is a dietary byproduct that is formed by gut bacteria during digestion. The chemical is derived in part from nutrients that are abundant in red meat. High saturated fat levels in red meat have long been known to contribute to heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. A growing number of studies have identified TMAO as another culprit. The exact mechanisms by which TMAO may affect heart disease is complex. Prior research has shown that TMAO enhances cholesterol deposits in the artery wall. Studies also suggest that the chemical interacts with platelets—blood cells that are responsible for normal clotting responses—to increase the risk for clot-related events such as heart attack and stroke. To investigate the effects of dietary protein on TMAO production, a research team led by Dr. Stanley L. Hazen at the Cleveland Clinic enrolled 113 healthy men and women in a clinical trial. The participants were given three diets for a month in random order. All meals were prepared for them, with 25% of calories from protein. The dietary proteins came from either red meat, white meat, or non-meat sources. The research was largely supported by NIH’s National Heart,

Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Results were published on December 10, 2018, in European Heart Journal. After one month on this diet, blood levels of TMAO were three times higher than when participants were on the diets based on either white meat When on the red meat diet, the participants consumed roughly the equivalent of 8 ounces of steak daily, or two quarter-pound beef patties. Half of the participants were also placed on high-saturated fat versions of the three diets. The diets all had equal amounts of calories. The researchers found that saturated fat had no additional effect on TMAO levels. Importantly, the TMAO increases were reversible. When the participants discontinued the red meat diet and ate either the white meat or non-meat diet for another month, their TMAO levels decreased significantly. “This study shows for the first time what a dramatic effect changing your diet has on levels of TMAO, which is increasingly linked to heart disease,” Hazen says. “These findings reinforce current dietary recommendations that encourage all ages to follow a heart-healthy eating plan that limits red meat,” says nutrition researcher Dr. Charlotte Pratt, the NHLBI project officer for the study. “This means eating a variety of foods, including more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy foods, and plant-based protein sources such as beans and peas.”

When the participants discontinued the red meat diet and ate either the white meat or nonmeat diet for another month, their TMAO levels decreased significantly



recognise that it was alive once. If we don’t, we’ll be the losers down the line.” As for JBS and its sulky window sign, Danny Lidgate of posh London butchers Lidgate’s thinks they may just be attention‑seeking. “We don’t hang rabbits or put pigs’ heads in the windows, yet people love the displays so much they stand and take pictures of it. We carve roses out of fat, add vegetables, and lay out the meat as artistically as we can. People want to see animals in the fields, not in their butchers.” The way forward for butchers, he thinks, is diversification. “Butchers need to become more like chefs,” by adding stuffings or sauces, “and chefs need to be more like butchers, understanding the cuts.” Herbert is more conciliatory. “In a big city you can be unique, as there are so many people that you can find enough customers who like what you are doing. In a small town, you need to appeal to everyone, be part of the community. It has taken me a while to learn that.” So, JBS, don’t let a few grumpy customers make you give up on those fantastic displays. But maybe lose the demonic pigs’ heads.

An article from the US National Institutes of Health Edited by Alex Connolly.


The History of HUMANS & FOOD

“While cooked M CRUCIAL for th humans, we cons meat today. Early MOSTLY PLA Excerpt from Article

Meat, Cooked Foods Needed for Early Human Brain


Christopher Wanjek

The History of HUMANS & FOOD

MEAT WAS he evolution of sume too much y humans ate ANTS.�



The History of HUMANS & FOOD

Let them eat POTATOES Potatoes were originally thought to cause Leprosy. Jeff Chapman

03.04.2019 Throughout Europe, potatoes were regarded with suspicion, distaste and fear. Generally considered to be unfit for human consumption, they were used only as animal fodder and sustenance for the starving. In northern Europe, potatoes were primarily grown in botanical gardens as an exotic novelty. Even peasants refused to eat from a plant that produced ugly, misshapen tubers and that had come from a heathen civilization.

Some felt that the potato plant’s resemblance to plants in the nightshade family hinted that it was the creation of witches or devils. In most of Europe, the upper classes saw the potato’s potential before the more superstitious lower classes, and the encouragement to begin growing potatoes had to come from above. In meat-loving England, farmers and urban workers regarded potatoes with extreme distaste. In 1662, the Royal Society recommended the cultivation of the tuber to the English government and the nation, but this recommendation had little impact. Potatoes did not become a staple until, during the food shortages associated with the Revolutionary Wars, the English overcoming the people’s prejudice against the plant. When he issued a 1774 order for his subjects to grow potatoes as protection against famine, the town of Kolberg replied: “The things have neither smell nor taste, not even the dogs will eat them, so what use are they to us?” Trying a less direct approach to encourage his subjects to begin planting potatoes,

From an article originally published in History Magazine. Edited by Alex Connolly.

Frederick used a bit of reverse psychology: he planted a royal field of potato plants and stationed a heavy guard to protect this field from thieves. Nearby peasants naturally assumed that anything worth guarding was worth stealing, and so snuck into the field and snatched the plants for their home gardens. Of course, this was entirely in line with Frederick’s wishes. In the Russian Empire, Catherine the Great ordered her subjects to begin cultivating the tuber, but many ignored this order. They were supported in this dissension by the Orthodox Church, which argued that potatoes were suspect because they were not mentioned in the Bible. Potatoes were not widely cultivated in Russia until 1850, when Czar Nicholas I began to enforce Catherine’s order. Across the Atlantic, the tuber was first introduced to the colonies in the 1620s when the British governor of the Bahamas sent a gift box of Solanum tuberosum to the governor of the colony of Virginia. While they spread throughout the northern colonies in limited quantities, potatoes did not become widely accepted until they received an aristocratic seal of approval from Thomas Jefferson, who served them to guests at the White House. Thereafter, the potato steadily gained in popularity, this popularity being strengthened by a steady stream of Irish immigrants to the new nation. When the European diet expanded to include potatoes, not only were farmers able to produce much more food, they also gained protection against the catastrophe of a grain crop failure and periodic population checks caused by famine. Highly nutritious potatoes also helped mitigate the effects of such diseases as scurvy, tuberculosis, measles and dysentery. The higher birth rates and lower mortality rates potatoes encouraged led to a tremendous population explosion wherever the potato traveled, particularly in Europe, the US and the British Empire. Historians debate whether the potato was primarily a cause or an effect of the huge population boom in industrial-era England and Wales. Prior to 1800, the English diet had consisted primarily of meat, supplemented by bread, butter

and cheese. Few vegetables were consumed, most vegetables being regarded as nutritionally worthless and potentially harmful. This view began to change gradually in the late 1700s. At the same time as the populations of London, Liverpool and Manchester were rapidly increasing, the potato was enjoying unprecedented popularity among farmers and urban workers. The Industrial Revolution was drawing an ever increasing percentage of the populace into crowded cities, where only the richest could afford homes with ovens or coal storage rooms, and people were working 12-16 hour days which left them with little time or energy to prepare food. High yielding, easily prepared potato crops were the obvious solution to England’s food problems. Not insignificantly, the English were also rapidly acquiring a taste for potatoes, as is evidenced by the tuber’s increasing popularity in recipe books from the time.

Hot potato vendors and merchants selling fish and chips wrapped in paper horns became ubiquitous features of city life. Between 1801 and 1851, England and Wales experienced an unprecedented population explosion, their combined population doubling to almost 18 million. Before the widespread adoption of the potato, France managed to produce just enough grain to feed itself each year, provided nothing went wrong, but something usually did. The precariousness of the food supply discouraged French farmers from experimenting with new crops or new farming techniques, as they couldn’t afford any failures. On top of hundreds of local famines, there were at least 40 outbreaks of serious, nationwide famine between 1500 and 1800. The

benefits of the potato, which yielded more food per acre than wheat and allowed farmers to cultivate a greater variety of crops for greater insurance against crop failure, were obvious wherever it was adopted. The potato insinuated itself into the French diet in the form of soups, boiled potatoes and pommes-frites. The fairly sudden shift towards potato cultivation in the early years of the French Revolution allowed a nation that had traditionally hovered on the brink of starvation in times of stability and peace to expand its population during a decades-long period of constant political upheaval and warfare. The uncertainly of food supply during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, combined with the tendency of aboveground crops to be destroyed by soldiers, encouraged France’s allies and enemies to embrace the tuber as well; by the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the potato had become a staple food in the diets of most Europeans. The most dramatic example of the potato’s potential to alter population patterns occurred in Ireland, where the potato had become a staple by 1800. The Irish population doubled to eight million between 1780 and 1841 — this, without any significant expansion of industry or reform of agricultural techniques beyond the widespread cultivation of the potato. Though Irish landholding practices were primitive in comparison with those of England, the potato’s high yields allowed even the poorest farmers to produce more healthy food than they needed with scarcely any investment or hard labor. Even children could easily plant, harvest and cook potatoes, which of course required no threshing, curing or grinding. The abundance provided by potatoes greatly decreased infant mortality and encouraged early marriage. Accounts of Irish society recorded by contemporary visitors paint the picture of a people as remarkable for their health as for their lack of sophistication at the dinner table, where potatoes typically supplied appetizer, dinner and dessert.


The History of HUMANS & FOOD

Perhaps lab grown meats, plant based meats or insects...

A similar situtation occured with the tomato. Italians were hesitant to adopt the fruit into their diet as they believed they were poisonous. Today the tomato is integral to ilaian cooking.


If we can become so acustomed to something that, at first, disgusted us, surely we can develop a taste for new foods to come?

Excerpt from The Smithsonian magazine

"Why the Tomato Was Feared in Europe for More Than 200 Years" K. Annabelle Smith





The History of HUMANS & FOOD

COW I love cow burgers.

The History of HUMANS & FOOD

Beef I love beef burgers.



The History of HUMANS & FOOD

BEANS & MASH The Gladiator Diet Gladiator diets were carb-heavy, fattening and mostly vegetarian.

Ryleigh Nucillijune

18.08.2018 To survive the arena, they ate a mash of barley and beans. What epitomizes the ideal western male physique more than the Roman gladiator? Rippling with lean muscle, gladiators’ bodies represent corporeal perfection—or so films and television shows such as Gladiator and Spartacus would have us believe. In reality, what we know about gladiators’ diet and physiques suggests a very different physical appearance than the one depicted in classical art and contemporary popular culture. According to archaeological research, their abdominals and pectorals were likely covered in a quivering layer of subcutaneous fat. Why? The evidence suggests gladiators carbo-loaded.

They ate a diet high in carbohydrates, such as barley and beans, and low in animal proteins. Their meals looked nothing like the paleo or meat-and-fish centric diets now associated with elite warriors and athletes. Current knowledge of gladiators’ physiques comes from a group of medical anthropologists  at the Medical University of Vienna and a  nearly 2,000-year-old gladiator grave  located in what is now Ephesus, Turkey. (When its inhabitants were interred, the area was part of the Roman Empire.) The mass grave houses the bones of 67 gladiators and one female slave, thought to be the spouse of one of the men buried there. Researchers were able to identify the buried bodies as gladiators through reference to a set of reliefs carved into the marble slabs that marked the grave. These reliefs depict gladiatorial battle scenes

From an article originally published in History Magazine. Edited by Alex Connolly.

and were dedicated to fallen gladiators. Although none of the 68 skeletons was complete, enough arm and leg bones, as well as skulls and teeth, were preserved for researchers to be able to study and understand the nutritional and medical realities of the men to whom they once belonged. Using a technique called “isotopic analysis,” the team was able to test the skeletal remains for elements including calcium and zinc. This enabled them to partially reconstruct their diets. Based on the elemental mixtures they recovered using the analysis, the team concluded that the bodies in the grave ate few animal proteins and plenty of carb-rich legumes, as well as a healthy dose of calcium. This relatively meat-free diet is described in texts from the time, too: Pliny’s  Natural History  refers to gladiators by the nickname  hordearii,  which translates to “barley eaters.” Interestingly, according to the researchers, gladiators’ primarily vegetarian diet was not a consequence of their poverty or slave status. While it is popularly believed that the ranks of men and women who fought as gladiators were comprised entirely of slaves, that’s only partly true. Though the majority of gladiators were prisoners of war and convicts, some rejoined voluntarily to earn wages after their initial term of conscription had ended. Nonetheless, given this lowly status, one might assume that a carb-heavy, mostly meat-free diet was a cost-cutting measure. After all, why feed prisoners extravagant fare? Well, you might do it to improve their battlefield performance. The Vienna team posits that the fighters ate weight-gaining foods because extra fat created a layer of bodily protection. Nerve endings would have been less exposed, and bleeding cuts would have been less perilous. As an added benefit, the extra, protective layer of fat would have created a more satisfying spectacle: The gladiators could sustain wounds and gush blood, but, because the wounds were shallow, they could keep on fighting. Harvard Classics Professor Kathleen Coleman, who is unaffiliated with the

University of Vienna team, agrees with the notion that the gladiator diet was carefully considered. Since everyone wanted the best possible fight, she says, “I assume that they knew about the link between diet and performance [and] they certainly wanted to fatten gladiators up.” Even if the fare wasn’t a cost-cutting measure, though, “the ancient sources sneered at the gladiator’s ‘mash,’ as they called it.”

If this research is correct, though, why has a seemingly inaccurate picture of gladiators persisted for so long? The short answer: because the ancients were a lot like us! They idealized forms in a manner akin to an ancient sort of Photoshop. In ancient Greece, for example, ideas of the beautiful, perfect body were derived from men competing in athletic competitions, and to make up for a lack of true perfection in the real world, artists depicted everyone—gladiators, gods, and philosophers—as closer to perfect specimens. Across the Roman Empire, training gladiators was a popular source of revenue. More than 100 gladiator schools stretched from modern-day Vienna, Austria, to Ephesus, Turkey, and beyond. The most famous schools were clustered around the Coliseum, and visitors to Rome can still see the remnants of Ludus Magnus, the largest school that was connected to the Coliseum by tunnels. Based on the archaeological evidence

that still exists, experts describe the training centers as “fortress prisons.” They usually had one exit door, which faced the public arena. Inside the school, a rotating body of experts trained the men and women in different fighting techniques and weaponry. Gladiators could not leave, and they presumably ate their bean-heavy mash without complaint in the spartan surroundings. Notably, the gladiators’ extra fat doesn’t mean they were unhealthy, and their treatment wasn’t all harsh. In fact, both the archaeological evidence from the Ephesus site and writing from the period suggest the opposite. Gladiators were a significant investment, and archaeological sites evidence the fortresses as “also [including] heated floors for winter training, baths, infirmaries, plumbing, and a nearby graveyard.” Though prisoners, they likely received superior medical care. For example, the historical record shows that at least some gladiators were treated by elite doctors, such as Galen of Pergamum, the Greek physician and writer whose theories and research deeply influenced the medical field for centuries. The quality of gladiators’ medical care is also evidenced by a comparison of injuries on the bones of average citizens to those of the gladiators, which evince superior care with clean, smooth healing lines along old breaks. Gladiators’ good-health was not just a consequence of quality medical treatment.

They also regularly drank calcium supplements made of either charred plant or bone ash. Like modern athletes, they took their calcium—scholarly analyses describe the calcium levels in gladiators’ bones as “exorbitant” compared to average citizens. And the Elder Pliny records the same in Natural History  XXXVI.203:


The History of HUMANS & FOOD

While the Gladiator diet isn't reccomended it is interesting to note glorified athletes were fueled by plants and not by meat.

“‘For abdominal cramp or bruises,’ states Marcus Varro, and I quote his very words, ‘your hearth should be your medicine chest. Drink lye made from its ashes, and you will be cured. One can see how gladiators after a combat are helped by drinking this.’” Gladiators did have the occasional chance to nosh on more decadent foodstuffs. To kick off gladiator games, elite Romans held large banquets, which the fighters might be invited to. The firstcentury B.C. historian Livy described these feasts  as shows complete with sacrificial animals, athletes, and famous horses, while “banquets too were prepared for the delegations with equal sumptuousness and attention to detail.” But while some gladiators had the chance to feast, if they chose, before their upcoming fights, others faced death as part of the entertainment. During banquets, when guests “were all sated with dining and drink, [the hosts] called in the gladiators,” wrote the Greek philosopher and historian  Nicolaus of Damascus in his Athletica. “No sooner did one have his throat cut than the masters applauded with extreme delight.”




Gladiators didn't eat a vegetarian diet to stay lean, but rather for stamina and strength.


MEAT & The Climate

MEAT & The Climate O W T T R A P

MEAT & The Climate

As it stands, the meat industry is not sustainable. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, tackling meat consumption is the world’s most urgent problem. The greenhouse gas footprint of animal agriculture rivals that of every car, truck, bus, ship, airplane, and rocket ship combined. It is not feasible to continue eating meat the way we are currently. Part two looks at the effect of meat of the climate, from both sides of the argument. Just because meat is bad for the environment doesn't mean we have to cut it out of our diet completely. To sustainably consume meat we all have to eat less... But meat tastes so good! You just wait until part three.

More information about the UN reports on Meat consumption can be found on The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change website

'Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret' is a 2014 documentary abou the effect of livestock on the planet.



MEAT & The Climate

CLIMATE CRISIS, we need to reshape the food system Everything we eat has an effect on global heating, but perhaps the biggest problem is livestock. Jess Fanzo and Mario Herrero

08.10.2019 The world came together last week for the UN general assembly, and climate crisis was high on the agenda. Many of the discussions focused on changing the energy and transport sectors to mitigate potential catastrophe. Climate activist Greta Thunberg traveled to New York on an emissions-free yacht to deliver her speech at the UN climate summit. The point of her journey was to raise awareness that transatlantic flights generate significant greenhouse gases. That message is getting across: people are putting limits on the number of flights they take each year to conferences, workshops and holidays.What was not high on the agenda was the impact food systems have on greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental degradation. A slew of high-level reports produced over the last few months

all argue that if the world is to make an impact on climate crisis, the food system needs to be radically reshaped. The way we produce food, the way food is manipulated and moved around the world, and what we as citizens decide to put on our plate, matter for the climate crisis. Food systems contribute 21% to 37% of global greenhouse gases, and are significant contributors to deforestation, biodiversity loss and declining water tables. The Amazon forest fires in Brazil are directly related one way or another to food production. Perhaps the biggest problem: livestock. They use a third of global cropland and contribute 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. A recent New Yorker article noted that “[every] 4lbs of beef you eat contributes to as much global warming as flying

Major study also finds huge changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying Earth’s ability to feed its population.

10.08.2018 Huge reductions in meat-eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of the food system’s impact on the environment. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses. The research also finds that enormous changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying the planet’s ability to feed the 10 billion people expected to be on the planet in a few decades. Food production already causes great damage to the environment, via greenhouse gases from livestock, deforestation  and  water shortages from farming, and vast ocean dead zones  from agricultural pollution. But without action, its impact will get far worse as the world population rises by 2.3 billion people by 2050 and global income triples, enabling more people to eat meat-rich western diets. This trajectory would smash critical environmental limits beyond which

countries consume very high levels of red meat, such as those in the OECD and Latin America; other countries have very low consumption levels, such as many parts of Africa and south Asia. Still, consumption is low in lowincome countries in comparison to highincome countries. The IPCC and Eat-Lancet reports do recommend that those who tend to consume high amounts of meat consider a “flexitarian” diet. This diet is largely composed of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and unsaturated oils. It includes highquality meat, dairy and sugar, but in quantities far lower than are currently consumed in wealthier societies. But how should we, as consumers, make the shift? People could consider being a vegetarian by day and allow themselves small servings of animal source foods in the evening; go meatless on Mondays, as some schools and institutions already have; embrace tasty Asian cuisines, which tend to be more plant-based; or try out alternative plant protein options such as the Impossible Burger or Beyond Burger. Start with kids – school meals are a great way to form healthy and sustainable habits early on. Learn where your food (and meat) comes from. Who produced it and how? Support food producers who make efforts to produce low-impact meats. If you are going to go for red meat, choose quality over quantity: eat more

meat cuts and less processed meat. And waste nothing. But for the world to make this shift, we need governments and the food industry to make it easier. We need investment in public health information and the implementation of policies that promote healthy eating that is affordable, safe, convenient and most of all, tasty. What we eat matters. Not only for ourselves and the planet, but for the youth who were out marching on the streets last week in the name of their future and right to live on this planet. But for the world to make this shift, we need governments and the food industry to make it easier. We need investment in public health information and the implementation of policies that promote healthy eating that is affordable, safe, convenient and most of all, tasty. What we eat matters. Not only for ourselves and the planet, but for the youth who were out marching on the streets last week in the name of their future and right to live on this planet. But for the world to make this shift, we need governments and the food industry to make it easier. We need investment in public health information and the implementation of policies that promote healthy eating that is affordable, safe, convenient and most of all, tasty. What we eat matters. Not only for ourselves and the planet, but for the youth who were out marching on the streets last week in the name of their

a landmark UN report on Monday in which the world’s leading scientists warned there are just a dozen years in which to keep global warming under 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods and extreme heat. The report said eating less meat and dairy was important but said current trends were in the opposite direction. The new research,  published in the journal Nature, is the most thorough to date and combined data from every country to assess the impact of food production on the global environment. It then looked at what could be done to stop the looming food crisis. “There is no magic bullet,” said Springmann. “But dietary and technological change [on farms] are the two essential things, and hopefully they can be complemented by reduction in food loss and waste.” About a third of food produced today never reaches the table. The researchers found a global shift to a “flexitarian” diet was needed to keep climate change even under 2C, let alone 1.5C. This flexitarian diet means the average world citizen needs to eat 75% less beef, 90% less pork and half the number of eggs, while tripling consumption of beans and pulses and quadrupling nuts and seeds. This would halve emissions from livestock and better management of manure would enable further cuts. In rich nations, the dietary changes required are ever more stark. UK and US... This would halve

emissions from livestock and better management of manure would enable further cuts. In rich nations, the dietary changes required are ever more stark. UK and US...

consumption are being seen among young people in some cities. But a global change is needed, he said: “I think we can do it, but we really need much more proactive governments to provide the right framework. People can make a personal difference by changing their diet, but also by knocking on the doors of their politicians and saying we need better environmental regulations – that is also very important. Do not let politicians off the hook.” Prof Tim Benton at the University of Leeds, who was not part of the research team, said: “Ultimately, we live on a finite planet, with finite resources. It is a fiction to imagine there is a technological solution allowing us to produce as much food as we might ever want, allowing us to overeat and throw food away.” He said the environmental burden of the current food system “undermines the ability of future generations to live on a stable and ecologically rich planet”. Prof Peter Smith at the University of Aberdeen, who was also not part of the research team, said: “We know food choices are very personal, and that behaviour change can be difficult to encourage, but the evidence is now unequivocal – we need to change our diets if we are to have a sustainable future. The fact that it will also make us healthier makes it a no-brainer.”

“The Amazon forest FIRES in Brazil are directly related one way or another to food production”


Damian Carrington

from New York to London – and the average American eats that much each month.” While red meat is generally considered the most resource-intensive food on the planet, the factors that determine whether a given meat is sustainable are complicated. Meat production can be environmentally friendly and efficient when it uses lands of low-opportunity costs, not suitable for crop production or significant carbon sequestration. Meat production can also be efficient in intensive, high-welfare animal systems like free-range pork and poultry. It can be more environmentally friendly when it uses feed that does not compete with human food. As many producers start to embrace new technologies to ensure animal systems are sustainable, we can make our own personal changes. Many people eat more red and processed meat than they need to, and there remains a lot of confusion about the health and environmental impacts of consuming meat. Red meat consumption per capita has been static since the 1990s. In contrast, we see a rapid growth in consumption per capita for pork and poultry (up to 300% in places in the last 25 years).. The sheer growth of the world’s population is driving the increased demand for animal source foods. Some

humanity will struggle to live, the new research indicates. “It is pretty shocking,” said Marco Springmann at the University of Oxford, who led the research team. “We are really risking the sustainability of the whole system. If we are interested in people being able to farm and eat, then we better not do that.”

“Feeding a world population of 10 billion is possible, but only if we change the way we eat and the way we produce food,” said Prof Johan Rockström at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who was part of the research team. “Greening the food sector or eating up our planet: this is what is on the menu today.”The new study follows the publication of

“What we eat matters. Not only for ourselves and the planet, but for THE YOUTH who were out marching on the streets”

citizens need to cut beef by 90% and milk by 60% ...while increasing beans and pulses between four and six times. However, the millions of people in poor nations who are undernourished need to eat a little more meat and dairy. Reducing meat consumption might be achieved by a mix of education, taxes, subsidies for plant-based foods  and changes to school and workplace menus, the scientists said. To halt deforestation, water shortages and pollution from overuse of fertiliser, profound changes in farming practices are needed. These include increasing crop yields in poorer nations, more universal water storage and far more careful use of fertilisers. “I was surprised by the fact we need a combination of very ambitious options,” Springmann said. “We really need to push it to the edge of what is possible.” All the diet and farming options are already being implemented in somewhere in the world, said Springmann. In the Netherlands and Israel, fertilisers and water are being better used, while big cuts in meat


MEAT & The Climate

Biggest analysis to date reveals huge footprint of livestock - it provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of farmland Damian Carrington

31.05.2018 Cattle at an illegal settlement in the Jamanxim National Forest, northern Brazil. The 1.3m hectare forest is today a microcosm of what happens in the Amazon, where vast areas of land are prey to illegal woodcutters, stock breeders and gold miners. Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet, according to the scientists behind the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet. The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife. The new analysis shows that while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. Other recent research shows 86% of all land mammals are now livestock or humans. The scientists also found that even the very lowest impact meat and dairy products still cause much more environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal growing.

More than 80% of farmland is used for livestock but it produces just 18% of food calories and 37% of protein The study, published in the journal Science, created a huge dataset based on almost 40,000 farms in 119 countries and covering 40 food products that represent 90% of all that is eaten. It assessed the full impact of these foods, from farm to fork, on land use, climate change emissions, freshwater use and water pollution (eutrophication) and air pollution (acidification). “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he said, as these only cut greenhouse gas emissions. “Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems,” he said. “Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.” The analysis also revealed a huge variability between different ways of producing the same food. For example, beef cattle raised on deforested land result in 12 times more greenhouse gases and use 50 times more land than those grazing rich natural pasture. But the comparison of beef with plant protein such as peas is stark, with even the lowest impact beef responsible for six times more greenhouse gases and 36 times more land.

Beef results in up to 105kg of greenhouse gases per 100g of protein, while tofu produces less than 3.5kg. The large variability in environmental impact from different farms does present an opportunity for reducing the harm, Poore said, without needing the global population to become vegan. If the most harmful half of meat and dairy production was replaced by plant-based food, this still delivers about two-thirds of the benefits of getting rid of all meat and dairy production.

Almond, oat, rice, cashew, soy, coconut, loads to choose from!

From an article originally published in History Magazine. Edited by Alex Connolly.

Cutting the environmental impact of farming is not easy, Poore warned: “There are over 570m farms all of which need slightly different ways to reduce their impact. It is an [environmental] challenge like no other sector of the economy.” But he said at least $500bn is spent every year on agricultural subsidies, and probably much more: “There is a lot of money there to do something really good with.” Labels that reveal the impact of products would be a good start, so consumers could choose the least damaging options, he said, but subsidies for sustainable and healthy foods and taxes on meat and dairy  will probably also be necessary. One surprise from the work was the large impact of freshwater fish farming, which provides two-thirds of such fish in Asia and 96% in Europe, and was thought to be relatively environmentally friendly. “You get all these fish depositing excreta and unconsumed feed down to the bottom of the pond, where there is barely any oxygen, making it the perfect environment for methane production,” a potent greenhouse gas, Poore said.

The research also found grass-fed beef, thought to be relatively low impact, was still responsible for much higher impacts than plant-based food. “Converting grass into [meat] is like converting coal to energy. It comes with an immense cost in emissions,” Poore said. The new research has received strong praise from other food experts. Prof Gidon Eshel, at Bard College, US, said: “I was awestruck. It is really important, sound, ambitious, revealing and beautifully done.” He said previous work on quantifying farming’s impacts, including his own, had taken a top-down approach using national level data, but the new work used a bottomup approach, with farm-by-farm data. “It is very reassuring to see they yield essentially the same results. But the new work has very many important details that are profoundly revealing.” Prof Tim Benton, at the University of Leeds, UK, said: “This is an immensely useful study. It brings together a huge amount of data and that makes its conclusions much more robust. The way we produce food, consume and waste food is unsustainable from a planetary perspective. Given the global obesity crisis, changing diets – eating less livestock produce and more vegetables and fruit – has the potential to make both us and the planet healthier.” Dr Peter Alexander, at the University of Edinburgh, UK, was also impressed but noted: “There may be environmental benefits, eg for biodiversity, from sustainably managed grazing and increasing animal product consumption may improve nutrition for some of the poorest globally. My personal opinion is we should interpret these results not as the need to become vegan overnight, but rather to moderate our [meat] consumption.” Poore said: “The reason I started this project was to understand if there were sustainable animal producers out there. But I have stopped consuming animal products over the last four years of this project. These impacts are not necessary to sustain our current way of life. The question is how much can we reduce them and the answer is a lot.”






Dairy products are three times more harmful to the environment than the most harmful nut milk.


MEAT & The Climate

“Every FOUR PO OF BEEF you e to as much globa flying from NEW LONDON” Excerpt from Article BBC NEWS

"Plant-based diet can fight climate change - UN"


Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst, Geneva

MEAT & The Climate

OUNDS eat contributes al warming as W YORK TO



MEAT & The Climate

GLOBAL Vegetarianism What would happen if the world suddenly went vegetarian? Rachel Nuwer

27.09.2016 People become vegetarians for a variety of reasons. Some do it to alleviate animal suffering, others because they want to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Still others are fans of sustainability or wish to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. No matter how much their carnivorous friends might deny it, vegetarians have a point: cutting out meat delivers multiple benefits. And the more who make the switch, the more those perks would manifest on a global scale. But if everyone became a committed vegetarian, there would be serious drawbacks for millions, if not billions, of people. “It’s a tale of two worlds, really,” says Andrew Jarvis  of Colombia’s International Centre for Tropical Agriculture. “In developed countries, vegetarianism would bring all sorts of environmental and health benefits. But in developing countries there would be negative effects in terms of poverty.” If vegetarianism was adopted by 2050, it would stave off about 7 million deaths per year, while veganism would knock that estimate up to 8 million Jarvis and other experts at the centre hypothesised what might happen if meat dropped off the planet’s menu overnight.

“Most people don’t think of the consequences of food on climate change,” says Tim Benton, a food security expert at the University of Leeds. “But just eating a little less meat right now might make things a whole lot better for our children and grandchildren.” First, they examined climate change. Food production accounts for onequarter to  one-third  of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions worldwide,

and the brunt of responsibility for those numbers falls to the livestock industry. Despite this, how our dietary choices affect climate change is often underestimated. In the US, for example, an average family of four emits more greenhouse gases  because of the meat they eat than from driving two cars – but it is cars, not steaks, that regularly come up in discussions about global warming. Marco Springmann, a research fellow at the Oxford Martin School’s Future of Food programme, tried to quantify just how much better: he and his colleagues built computer models that predicted what would happen...

...if everyone became vegetarian by 2050. The results indicate that – largely thanks to the elimination of red meat – food-related emissions would drop by about 60%. If the world went vegan instead, emissions declines would be around 70%. “When looking at what would be in line with avoiding dangerous levels of climate change, we found that you could only stabilise the ratio of food-related emissions to all emissions if everyone adopted a plant-based diet,” Springmann says. “That scenario is not very realistic – but it highlights the importance that food-related emissions will play in the future.” Global vegetarianism might impact farmers in the developing world hardest Food, especially livestock, also takes up a lot of room – a source of both greenhouse gas emissions due to land conversion and of biodiversity loss. Of the world’s approximately five billion hectares

An article from BBC Fututre Edited by Alex Connolly

(12 billion acres) of agricultural land, 68% is used for livestock. Should we all go vegetarian, ideally we would dedicate at least 80% of that pastureland to the restoration of grasslands and forests, which would capture carbon and further alleviate climate change. Converting former pastures to native habitats would likely also be a boon to biodiversity, including for large herbivores such as buffalo that were pushed out for cattle, as well as for predators like wolves that are often killed in retaliation for attacking livestock. The remaining 10 to 20% of former pastureland could be used for growing more crops to fill gaps in the food supply. Though a relatively small increase in agricultural land, this would more than make up for the loss of meat because onethird of the land currently used for crops is dedicated to producing food for livestock – not for humans. Both environmental restoration and conversion to plant-based agriculture would require planning and investment, however, given than pasturelands tend to be highly degraded. “You couldn’t just take cows off the land and expect it to become a primary forest again on its own,” Jarvis says. People formerly engaged in the livestock industry would also need assistance transitioning to a new career, whether in agriculture, helping with reforestation or producing bioenergy from crop byproducts currently used as livestock feed. Some farmers could also be paid to keep livestock for environmental purposes. “I’m sitting here in Scotland where the Highlands environment is very manmade and based largely on grazing by sheep,” says  Peter Alexander, a researcher in socio-ecological systems modelling at the University of Edinburgh. “If we took all the sheep away, the environment would look different and there would be a potential negative impact on biodiversity.” Should we fail to provide clear career alternatives and subsidies for former livestock-related employees, meanwhile, we would probably face significant unemployment and social upheaval –

especially in rural communities with close ties to the industry. If meat dropped from menus, the economic effects worldwide would be profound “There are over 3.5 billion domestic ruminants on earth, and tens of billions of chickens produced and killed each year for food,” says Ben Phalan, who researches the balance between food demand and biodiversity at the University of Cambridge. “We’d be talking about a huge amount of economic disruption.” But even the best-laid plans probably wouldn’t be able to offer alternative livelihoods for everyone. Around one-third of the world’s land is composed of arid and semi-arid rangeland that can only support animal agriculture. In the past, when people have attempted to convert parts of the Sahel – a massive east-to-west strip of Africa located south of the Sahara and north of the equator – from livestock pasture to croplands, desertification and loss of productivity have ensued. “Without livestock, life in certain environments would likely become impossible for some people,” Phalan says. That especially includes nomadic groups such as the Mongols and Berbers who, stripped of their livestock, would have to settle permanently in cities or towns – likely losing their cultural identity in the process. Plus, even those whose entire livelihoods do not depend on livestock would stand to suffer. Meat is an important part of history, tradition and cultural identity. Numerous groups around the world give livestock gifts at weddings, celebratory dinners such as Christmas centre around turkey or roast beef, and meat-based dishes are emblematic of certain regions and people. “The cultural impact of completely giving up meat would be very big, which is why efforts to reduce meat consumption have often faltered,” Phalan says. The effect on health is mixed, too. Springmann’s computer model study showed that, should everyone go vegetarian by 2050, we would see a global mortality reduction of 6-10%, thanks to a lessening of coronary heart disease,

MEAT & The Climate

Perhaps lab grown meats, plant based meats or insects...

diabetes, stroke and some cancers. Eliminating red meat accounts for half of that decline, while the remaining benefits are thanks to scaling back the number of calories people consume and increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables they eat. A worldwide vegan diet would further amplify these benefits:

worldwide vegetarianism would stave off about 7 million deaths per year... ...while total veganism would knock that estimate up to 8 million. Fewer people suffering from food-related chronic illnesses would also mean a reduction in medical bills, saving about 2-3% of global gross domestic product. Even the bestlaid plans probably wouldn’t be able to offer alternative livelihoods for everyone But realising these projected benefits would require replacing meat with nutritionally appropriate substitutes. Animal products contain more nutrients per calorie than vegetarian staples like grains and rice, so choosing the right replacement would be important, especially for the world’s estimated  two billion-plus  undernourished people. “Going vegetarian globally could create a health crisis in the developing world, because where would the micronutrients come from?” Benton says. But fortunately, the entire world doesn’t need to convert to vegetarianism or veganism to reap many of the benefits while limiting the repercussions. Instead, moderation in meat-eating’s frequency and portion size is key.  One study  found that simply conforming to the World Health Organization’s dietary recommendations would bring the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions down by 17% – a figure that would drop by an additional 40% should citizens further avoid animal products and processed snacks. “These are dietary changes that consumers would

barely notice, like having a just-slightlysmaller piece of meat,” Jarvis says. “It’s not this either-or, vegetarian-or-carnivore scenario.” Certain changes to the food system also would encourage us all to make healthier and more environmentally-friendly dietary decisions, says Springmann – like putting a higher price tag on meat and making fresh fruits and vegetables cheaper and more widely available. Addressing inefficiency would also help: thanks to food loss, waste and overeating, fewer than 50% of the calories currently produced are actually used effectively. “There is a way to have low productivity systems that are high in animal and environmental welfare – as well as profitable – because they’re producing meat as a treat rather than a daily staple,” Benton says. “In this situation, farmers get the exact same income. They’re just growing animals in a completely different way.” In fact, clear solutions  already exist for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock industry. What is lacking is the will to implement those changes.



If we can become so acustomed to something that, at first, disgusted us, surely we can develop a taste for new foods to come?



MEAT & The Climate

MEAT Less It's not necessarily about giving up completely...

MEAT & The Climate

Less MEAT's about cutting down.



MEAT & The Climate

THE FLEXITARIAN SOLUTION A bit of meat, a lot of veg - the diet to feed 10 billion people without killing the planet. James Gallagher

17.01.2019 Scientists have been trying to figure out how we are going to feed billions more people in the decades to come.Their answer - “the planetary health diet” - does not completely banish meat and dairy. But it is recommending we get most of our protein from nuts and legumes (such as beans and lentils) instead.Their diet needs an enormous shift in what we pile on to our plates and for us to turn to foods that we barely eat. WHAT CHANGES WOULD I HAVE TO MAKE? If you eat meat every day then this is the first biggie. For red meat you’re looking at a burger a week or a large steak a month and that’s your lot. You can still have a

couple of portions of fish and the same of chicken a week, but plants are where the rest of your protein will need to come from. The researchers are recommending nuts and a good helping of legumes every day instead. There’s also a major push on all fruit and veg, which should make up half of every plate of food we eat. Although there’s a cull on “starchy vegetables” such as the humble potato or cassava which is widely eaten in Africa. WILL IT TASTE AWFUL? Prof Walter Willet, one of the researchers who is based at Harvard, said no and that after a childhood on a farm eating three portions of red meat a day he was now pretty much in line with the planetary health diet. “There’s tremendous variety there,” he said. “You can take those foods and put them together in thousands

of different ways. We’re not talking about a deprivation diet here, it is healthy eating that is flexible and enjoyable.” These are some plates of food that meet the planetary health diet rules Is this for real, or just a fantasy? This plan requires changes to diets in pretty much every corner of the world. Europe and North America need to cut back massively on red meat, East Asia needs to cut back on fish, Africa on starchy vegetables. “Humanity has never attempted to change the food system at this scale and this speed,” said Line Gordon, director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, at Stockholm University. “Whether it’s a fantasy or not, a fantasy doesn’t have to be bad... it’s time to dream of a good world,” she says.Taxes on red meat are one of the many options the researchers say may be necessary to persuade us to switch diets.

to climate change to nutrition. They took two years to come up with their findings which have been published in the Lancet. Why do we need a diet for 10 billion people? The world population reached seven billion in 2011 and it’s now around 7.7 billion. That figure is expected to reach 10 billion around 2050 and will keep on climbing. Will it save lives? The researchers say the diet will prevent about 11 million people dying each year. That number is largely down to cutting diseases related to unhealthy diets such as heart attacks, strokes and some cancers. These are now the biggest killers in developed countries.

WHO CAME UP WITH THIS? A group of 37 scientists from around the world were brought together as part of the EAT-Lancet commission. They’re a mix of experts from farming

So what is the diet in detail? If you served it all up this is what you would be allowed every day:


13g a day (so one and a bit a week)



29g a day. That's about 2 chicken nuggets everyday.

NUTS 14g a day. Thats roughly a burger every 8 days.

FISH 31g a day. That's about 2 chicken nuggets everyday.

50g a day.

28g a day.



MEAT & The Climate


300g of vegetables a day.



whole grains like bread and rice 232g a day and 50g a day of starchy vegetables

and other legumes 75g a day

250g a day, the equivalent of one glass of milk.


50g a day.

200g a day


The Future of MEAT

The Future of MEAT


The Future of MEAT


It has never been easier to cut down your meat intake. There are more meat substitues than ever before. Unlike past attempts at replicating meat, brands like Impossible FoodsTM and Beyond meatsÂŽ are creating meat replacements that look, smell and taste like real meat. There have also been major leaps in lab cultured meat. Cells taken from a live animal are grown into a peice of meat without the need to kill the animal. Part three will investigate plant-based meats and cell cultured meats in depth. This newspaper, however, can't show you how they taste. It's up to you to try it.

Impossible Foods burgers are available in Irish Burger Kings.

Beyond Burgers are available in many Irish Supermarkets and exclusivly at Bujo Burger Joint.


The Future of MEAT

Fake Meat vs REAL MEAT The meat industry has a warning for consumers: Beware of plant-based meat. Stephanie Butler

31.05.2019 "Beware of plant based meat". That is the message behind a marketing campaign by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a public relations firm whose financial supporters have included meat producers and others in the food industry. In recent weeks the group has placed full-page ads in The New York Times and other newspapers raising health concerns about plant-based meat substitutes like the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger, which are designed to look, taste and even appear to bleed like real meat. The ads call them “ultra-processed imitations” with numerous ingredients. “What’s hiding in your plant-based meat?” asks one ad featuring a sad face made of two patties and sausage. Another directs readers  to a site that compares plantbased burgers to dog food. In November, the group’s managing director, Will Coggin, wrote an opinion piece in USA Today that labeled fake meats as ultra-processed

foods that can spur weight gain, although the research on processed foods has not included plant-based meats. A few days later, the center’s executive director, Rick Berman, wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal criticizing plant-based meats as highly processed and no healthier than meat. Its headline: “‘Plant-Based Meat’ Is All Hat and No Cattle.” Impossible Foods, which makes a popular plant-based burger, said the campaign was misleading and fearmongering. The company says plant-based meat alternatives are better for consumers and better for the planet, requiring less land and water and producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions than meat from cattle. The new “disinformation” campaign, they say, is a sign that Impossible Foods’ mission — to disrupt the meat industry and replace animals in the food system — is working. “It’s a point of pride to have that organization come after us,” said Pat Brown, the company’s chief executive. “It’s hard to imagine a stronger endorsement.” (The Center for Consumer Freedom did not respond to requests for an interview.)

THE BEEF INDUSTRY IS FREAKING OUT OVER PLANT-BASED MEAT? TOO BAD Major study also finds huge changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying Earth’s ability to feed its population. The times editorial board

07.01.2020 The Impossible Burger, which first appeared in grocery stores in September, is made entirely of plant-based ingredients. But it looks, smells, feels and — most importantly — tastes so much like real hamburger beef that it’s hard to tell the difference between, say, the Impossible Whopper now available at Burger King and the original charred flesh version that the fast food chain has been selling for decades. In fact, plant-based burger alternatives from companies such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, both based in California, have evolved so far from the cardboard-tasting alternatives of yore that they have triggered a backlash from the beef industry. The Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of the fast food and meat industries, among others, has launched an “informational” campaign targeting plant-based meats. The campaign has included TV and online ads, as well as print ads in newspapers, including this

one. The ads seem to imply that not only is a faux burger an “ultra-processed” patty, but that it might be junk food that is even junkier than the average beef burger. While it’s true that a plant-based meat alternative is processed — meaning altered in the preparation process, like just about everything else at the grocery store — and it’s true that eating one is not as healthy as say, a pile of raw vegetables, it’s best to take the ads with a generous pinch of salt. (Or sodium, which the ads correctly note is higher in precooked plant patties than in the beef kind.) For instance, the additives and preservatives in plant-based meat highlighted in one ad sure sound scary. Who wants something called titanium dioxide in their meal? But the truth is that additives such as those listed in the ads are regularly used in all sorts of packaged foods. And if methylcellulose, a food thickener, sounds unappetizing, it’s reallly nothing compared with the E. coli or salmonella poisoning you can get from regular meat. The truth is that beef and other industrial meats are often packaged with things a lot more dangerous to human health than food additives. You

Unlike other vegetarian meat substitutes, the new plant-based burgers are winning over meat lovers. The market research firm NPD Group says that 90 percent of the customers purchasing them are meat-eaters who believe the products are more healthful and better for the environment, said Darren Seifer, an analyst at NPD, which recently  predicted that plant-based meats will have staying power because of their popularity with millennials.

“The two big brands, Beyond and Impossible, have replicated the burger experience without having to sacrifice the taste of the burger,” he said. “So now a lot of consumers feel like they have a healthier option, they are reducing the amount of meat they consume, and they just feel better about that.” But are plant-based meats really better for you than meat? It depends on how you eat them, said Dr. Frank Hu, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Replacing a hamburger with a plant burger is not an improvement in diet


THE PAST This Article is 7 years old.

want to talk about a public health threat? The widespread prophylactic use of human grade antibiotics in cows and other livestock has contributed greatly to the rise of lethal antibiotic-resistant organisms. Besides, the ad campaign misses the bigger point. Choosing an Impossible or Beyond burger at one of the growing number of fast food and sit-down restaurants that offer them isn’t just about eating healthy (though they typically have less fat and cholesterol than beef hamburgers). Burgers, be they made from processed pea protein or processed slaughtered mammal, will never be as healthy as organic raw vegetables. What’s appealing is the prospect of enjoying a juicy burger without the bitter aftertaste of guilt. Because, let’s face it, there are tremendous environmental costs to eating cows. Cattle ranching is contributing to climate change, and not just because methane from cows and livestock is responsible for about 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions. More broadly, our global food production system emits more than a third of the world’s greenhouse gases. Yet we can’t seem to curb our meat appetite even knowing that huge swaths of the Amazon forest have been razed, and continue to be cut down to make room for more cattle to feed the growing demand for beef. Humans also know full well that many animals live short, brutal lives in appalling conditions for the sole purpose of becoming bacon, chicken thighs, pork loin, veal cutlets, filet mignon and other

quality if you chase it with French fries and a sugar-laden soda, Dr. Hu said. For consumers trying to choose the healthiest option, Dr. Hu said studies comparing the metabolic effects of eating beef burgers versus plant burgers are currently underway. In the meantime, he considers the meat substitutes “transitional foods” for people who are trying to adopt more healthful diets. In August, Dr. Hu, along with a group of health and climate experts, published a report in JAMA that explored whether plant-based meats can be part of a “healthy low-carbon diet.” Studies show that replacing red meat with nuts, legumes and other plant foods can lower mortality and chronic disease risk, but it’s not possible to extrapolate that processed burgers made with purified soy or pea protein will have the same health benefits, said Dr. Hu. Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat say the building blocks of their burgers are plants. The Beyond Burger has about 18 ingredients, including purified pea protein, coconut and canola oils, rice protein, potato starch and beet juice extract for coloring. Beyond Meat says it uses no genetically modified or artificially produced ingredients. The Impossible Burger is made with similar basic ingredients but it gets its protein largely from soy and potato, and it uses an iron-containing compound from soy called heme to enhance the burger’s meaty flavor. Both products use methylcellulose, a plant derivative commonly used in sauces and ice cream, as a binder. Compared to a beef patty, the Impossible and Beyond burgers have similar amounts of protein and calories, with less saturated fat and no cholesterol. They also contain fiber; real meat does not. But compared to

real beef, the two plant-based burgers are considerably higher in sodium, containing about 16 percent of the recommended daily value. An uncooked four-ounce beef patty  has about 75 milligrams of sodium, compared to 370 milligrams of sodium in the Impossible Burger and 390 milligrams in the Beyond Burger.

foods for humans to enjoy at dinner. So why do we still do it? Because meat tastes soooooo good and it is such an efficient source of protein. Plus, did we mention it’s so tasty? A plant-based meat that satisfies meat cravings and delivers protein but with a smaller climate footprint is a potential environmental game changer

and the reason Impossible Foods was one of the recipients of the U.N. Global Climate Action Award in 2019. No wonder the meat industry is on guard.

This fall, Burger King said it had its most successful quarter in four years, driven by sales of its plantbased Impossible Whopper. Dunkin’ Donuts announced it was rolling out a breakfast sandwich made with Beyond Meat sausages in 9,000 of its stores after a successful trial run in New York City. More than 50,000 grocery stores and restaurants, including fast food chains like Subway, White Castle, KFC and Carl’s Jr., carry products from Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods. Despite the popularity of plant-based burgers, beef burgers are still overwhelmingly the more popular choice at restaurants. Americans purchased 6.4 billion beef burgers at quick service restaurants during the 12 months that ended in May, compared to 228 million plant-based burgers in the same period. While meat consumption in America is at an all-time high, many Americans have shifted from eating beef to poultry. In the past three decades, beef intake has fallen by about a third, while chicken intake has more than doubled and pork intake has remained fairly steady. Studies show that cost, convenience and health concerns are among the top reasons Americans have cut back on beef. But the health messages about red

“it looks, smells, feels and – most importantly – TASTES so much like real hamburger beef”


The Future of MEAT

meat have been confusing. Earlier this year, a group of scientists challenged decades of nutrition advice, saying that warnings linking red meat consumption to heart disease and cancer are not backed by strong scientific evidence, though it was later revealed that the study’s lead author had past research ties to an industry group  whose members include fast food companies and a beef processor. Meat producers are taking the fight against fake meat to lawmakers.

At least 25 states have introduced bills making it illegal to use the words “beef” or “meat” on products made from plant ingredients or cultured meat that is grown in a lab. Missouri became the first state to pass such a law last year, which was initially proposed by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. In October, Representative Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas and the top recipient of livestock industry donations in the House, introduced a

federal bill that would require companies to put the word “imitation” on their plantbased meat products. The bill calls for the products to carry a statement on their packages “that clearly indicates the product is not derived from or does not contain meat.” Dr. Marshall, an obstetrician, said he introduced the bill after hearing from constituents. Patients of his told him they were confused about the health benefits of plant-based beef substitutes, and beef producers told him they were frustrated that the products are sold in grocery stores next to ground beef. “Kansas has a very large beef industry and they said, ‘Why are we allowing this fake meat in the meat department?’” he said. Mr. Brown, the chief executive of Impossible Foods, said his company’s mission is not to convince consumers that the Impossible Burger is the most nutritious food they can eat. It is simply to persuade people who want a “cow burger” to eat an Impossible Burger instead. “The niche that this fills is not the same niche that a kale salad fills,” he said. “If you’re hungry for a burger and you want something that’s better for you and better for the planet that delivers everything you want from a burger, then this is a great product. But if you’re hungry for a salad, eat a salad.”

ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS MOTIVATE MILLIONS TO OPT FOR PLANT-BASED MEAT Major study also finds huge changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying Earth’s ability to feed its population. Emily Dao

22.8.2018 Burgers have long been a staple for Americans. However, as the beef industry tops emissions charts, several fast-food chains have presented consumers with plant-based alternatives. And surprisingly, consumers are loving it. Plant-Based Meat Surges in Popularity From January 2019 to May 2019, American consumers purchased 228 million plant-based burgers, per market research firm, The NPD Group. The figure shows a 10% surge in sales for the plantbased food industry from the following year. Considering the actual meat industry only rose 2% during the same time frame, that’s quite an impressive leap. Research by the team also revealed this increase in sales wasn’t due to vegetarians flocking to these popular restaurants. Rather, 95% of consumers who purchased a plant-based burger also bought a product with beef in it that same year.  NPD says the increased popularity of meatless burgers is associated with

the increase in plant-based alternatives. More specifically, Darren Seifer, an analyst at the firm, explains that plantbased burgers give consumers a chance to get involved. By consume plant-based burgers instead of their beef counterparts, consumers are choosing a significantly less environmentally-harmful option. “Plant-based burgers allow consumers to substitute without sacrifice. They get the ‘burger’ experience while assuaging their need for more protein and social concerns,” Seifer said. “With that said, U.S. consumers have not given up on beef burgers, but are willing to mix things up every now and then.” Startups Compete in the Billion-Dollar Plant-Based Meat Industry. Currently, the vegan food industry is worth a whopping  $4.5 billion. On the other hand, the plant-based meat industry rakes in approximately $800 million. Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat currently act as the main suppliers of plant-based meat in the restaurant industry. With the help of food engineers and scientists, Impossible Burger offers consumers a soy protein and coconut oil


The only way to rule out plant based meats is to try them.


patty, whereas Beyond Meat sells a peabased protein patty. The emerging popularity and demand for meatless burgers even came as a shock to the manufacturers themselves. After a 50% surge in sales growth following the launch of its 2.0 burger, Impossible Burger even struggled with a  burger shortage. To meet unprecedented demand, the company had to triple its weekly production. Currently, Impossible Burger patties are available at over 9,000 restaurants, including White Castle, Red Robin, and  Burger King. Its primary competitor, Beyond Meat, serves several other popular chains, including Del Taco, Carl Jr.’s, and Tim Horton’s. In total, the two companies serve their plant-based patties in  over 20,000 locations across the United States.  Impossible Burger patties are available at over 9,000 restaurants, such as White Castle, Red Robin, and Burger King. “I can’t believe how many people are going crazy over it,” Tricia Scanlon, a bartender at Red Robin,  told The New York Times. “A lot of people have been asking for it, people that are vegetarians or vegans. Everybody who lives that lifestyle absolutely loves it.” Consumers Actually Want Plant-Based Options. Rob Leclerc, a co-founder of food-tech startup AgFunder, said restaurants are listening to consumer feedback more than ever before. . Evidently, the numbers show that adopting more plant-based options is exactly what consumers want. For instance, after the introduction of Burger King’s Impossible Burger, it has been greener in more than just one way. In a test market for their new plant-based menu items, the burger joint reported foot traffic rose by 18.5%.  “I think we’re talking about a consumer who has certain demands and — if unmet by McDonald’s —are willing to go to a smaller franchise that focuses on those

“Perhaps the biggest problem? LIVESTOCK ”

demands specifically,” Leclerc said. Conclusions While adding plant-based burgers to the menu is a win for the environment, it’s won’t solve the world’s climate crisis. What’s clear is that everyone needs to make sacrifices in order to mitigate the serious ramifications of climate change. And the burden can’t just lay on everyday people — major corporations also need to get involved. So, although plant-based meat won’t completely eliminate meat production and consumption, the space is growing quickly. As more fast-food restaurants join the fight, reducing carbon emissions on a large scale is becoming less far-fetched than it once seemed. foods have much less impact on the environment than meat does. Today, many vegetarians refuse meat because of animal rights issues, or concerns over animal treatment, a principle first espoused in Peter Singer’s 1975 work “Animal Liberation.” Impossible Burger patties are available at over 9,000 restaurants, such as White Castle, Red Robin, and Burger King. “I can’t believe how many people are going crazy over it,” Tricia Scanlon, a bartender at Red Robin, told The New York Times. “A lot of people have been asking for it, people that are vegetarians or vegans. Everybody who lives that lifestyle absolutely loves it.” Consumers Actually Want Plant-Based Options. Rob Leclerc, a co-founder of foodtech startup AgFunder, said restaurants are listening to consumer feedback more than ever before. Evidently, the numbers show that adopting more plant-based options is exactly what consumers want. For instance, after the introduction of Burger King’s Impossible Burger, it has been greener in more than just one way. In a test market for their new plant-based menu items, the burger joint reported foot

traffic rose by 18.5%.  “I think we’re talking about a consumer who has certain demands and — if unmet by McDonald’s —are willing to go to a smaller franchise that focuses on those demands specifically,” Leclerc said.  Conclusions While adding plant-based burgers to the menu is a win for the environment, it’s won’t solve the world’s climate crisis. What’s clear is that everyone needs to make sacrifices in order to mitigate the serious ramifications of climate change. And the burden can’t just lay on everyday people — major corporations also need to get involved. So, although plant-based meat won’t completely eliminate meat production and consumption, the space is growing quickly. As more fast-food restaurants join the fight,  reducing carbon emissions  on a large scale is becoming less far-fetched than it once seemed. foods have much less impact on the environment than meat does. Today, many vegetarians refuse meat because of animal rights issues, or concerns over animal treatment, a principle first espoused in Peter Singer’s 1975 work “Animal Liberation.”

“CHIPS wrapped in

paper horns became UBIQUITOUS

features of city life...”


The Future of MEAT

“A plant-based m SATISFY MEA and also delivers a smaller climate environmental g Excerpt from Article BBC NEWS

"Plant-based diet can fight climate change - UN"


Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst, Geneva

The Future of MEAT

meat that can AT CRAVINGS s protein but with e footprint is an game changer�



The Future of MEAT

Would you eat LA GROWN MEAT Meat that doesn't involve killing any animals. Catherine Cleary

23.11.19 A food critic walks into a burger bar in the year 2039. “Welcome to McFuture’s, madam. Plant or Cultured?” the iGraze screen asks. Payment is by retina scan, and the food is served by a lifelike server bot on a hot white plate with a gingham napkin. Anything our future food critic doesn’t wolf down is tipped into an anaerobic digester that helps power the building. Alongside it there’s a shipping container painted like a birch forest. Inside, all the salad vegetables are growing without soil or sun. Beside the container sits something that looks like a microbrewery, a group of stainless steel containers on stilts. In each one, the equivalent of the meat and fat of two cows is being grown each month, to be ground into burgers, slapped in a freshly toasted bun and dressed with a pickle.

Livestock suck up 70% of the planet’s fresh water, constitute the world’s biggest polluter of water, ...and are a huge contributor to biodiversity loss. Eating meat has become a political act. Far-fetched as it all sounds, the most unrealistic element in our 2039 burger might be the continued existence of the food critic. Every other ingredient could be on your food horizon in the next decade, if not sooner. In 1956, The Irish Times looked through its future vision goggles at the century up ahead with a study from the California Institute of Technology. “Our eating habits are going to change,” it declared. “We shall eat less meat and instead, will rely on plants, even the stalks and leaves.” Sea algae will be a food source, the 1950s report said. But only for a domesticated “sea-pig which would live on algae and make food

From an article originally published in The Irish Times. Edited by Alex Connolly.

for humans”. Right about the potential of algae. Wrong about the sea pigs. But those 1950s futurologists were fundamentally wrong about a future world that would eat less meat. In 1956 there were 2.8 billion people in the world, less than half of today’s 7.6 billion global population. Almost 70 years later, the massive environmental hoofprint of livestock farming would be jaw-dropping to those 1950s scientists. Today, farming animals for protein uses almost 50 per cent of the world’s farmland for grazing and growing feed crops. Livestock suck up 70 per cent of the planet’s fresh water, constitute the world’s biggest polluter of water, and are a huge contributor to biodiversity loss. Eating meat has become a political act. Until recently, the tech industry had little interest in food. Silicon Valley gave us Soylent, a sort of Complan for coders, dinner they could slurp through a straw because tech kids were as interested in cooking as they were in stamp collecting. But biotech has turned its gaze on our dinner, and is reinventing food, especially meat. The lead scientist is a spectacled man with spiked pepper and salt grey hair. Stanford biochemistry professor Pat Brown gave an interview in front of an audience in Stockholm in June. His T-shirt (worn under a grey business suit, naturally) featured a cow’s head in a red circle with a line through it. Brown, the founder of Impossible Foods, told the audience at Eat Stockholm: “We’re using the wrong technology to produce these foods. We’re using a prehistoric technology that’s incredibly inefficient and destructive, and hasn’t fundamentally improved in millennia.” A decade ago Brown decided that today’s most pressing scientific question was not how to cure disease, but to figure out what made meat delicious. After years of research and taste testing (an early prototype burger tasted like rancid polenta) the Impossible Whopper went mainstream this year. The burger, first made from wheat and now made from soy, went on the menu of more than 7,000 Burger Kings in the United States. The

breakthrough was a discovery of a protein molecule extracted from fermented yeast called heme, similar to hemoglobin, which gives the Impossible Whopper the bloody taste of meat. A plant-based chicken burger and beef burger has been rolled out in Sweden, Brazil and parts of Asia, and earlier this month Burger King in Ireland launched its Rebel Whopper, a meat-like soya-andwheat burger made by the Dutch-based Vegetarian Butcher company. Many experts believe plant protein will be a stepping stone to cultured meat, flesh grown from biopsied cells in vats, taking slaughter-free meats from lab experiments to supermarket shelves in the next decade. In her brilliant new book, The Fate of Food, the American journalist Amanda Little visits Memphis Meats in Berkeley, California, a stone’s throw from the home of the slowfood activist Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse. Memphis Meats founder Uma Valeti was inspired by an unlikely futurologist in the shape of Winston Churchill. In a 1931 article, Fifty Years Hence, Churchill predicted a hyperconnected world and one in which we would, “escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”

The first milestone in lab-grown meat was reached six years ago, with a press conference to showcase a labgrown burger. Since then the race has been to make it cheap and scalable enough to compete with, or even beat the costs of, commodity meat. Memphis Meats is one of several Californian, Dutch and Israeli companies in the race to grow meat in bioreactors. “It’s clear to me that if I ate lab-

grown duck gussied up with sauce and trimmings, as Peking duck or duck à l’orange, I wouldn’t able to distinguish the meat from conventional duck” In her book, Little tastes a €550 portion of duck breast grown by Memphis Meats from a cluster of cells biopsied from a live duck (which she presumes is still quacking somewhere nearby). It tastes stringy, chewy and meaty. “It’s clear to me that if I ate the stuff gussied up with sauce and trimmings, as Peking duck or duck à l’orange, I wouldn’t able to distinguish the meat from conventional duck,” she says. Its ordinariness was what made it extraordinary. Management consultants AT Kearney recently described “novel vegan meat replacements” like the Impossible Whopper as the “Generation 0”, saying cultured meat would be “Generation 1”, making the Impossible Whopper the Blackberry to the cultured meats’ iPhone. “These start-ups already exert an attraction and glamour on young top graduates in their countries, similar to that expected from Google, Tesla or Apple,” the Kearney report noted. If it all sounds excitable, that’s because there’s money in taking even a small bite of the €1.5 trillion annual global meat market. And it’s a win for the planet too, taking the pressure off farms devoted to an inefficient system of farming protein, restoring and reforesting depleted soil, and freeing up land for more sustainable farming which gives farmers a better living. In October Israeli firm Future Meat Technologies announced a model that could bring the cost of cell-made steak down to about €20 a kilo, or about €9 if combined with plant-based meat. The company predicts that its technological leap will put lab-grown meat on supermarket shelves in three years. The company claims each refrigerator-sized bioreactor could grow a half ton of meat and fat in about 14 days, or two cows’ worth of meat in a month.


The Future of MEAT

The foods we find disgusting largely come down to exposure. Most Irish people don’t see anything unnatural about the idea of eating animals per se, and eat pigs, cows, and chicken without hesitation. But many would be disgusted by the suggestion of putting a monkey’s leg in their hotdog buns; the only difference is what we’ve been socially primed to see as acceptable. Excerpt from Fast Company

"Will people be able to overcome their disgust of labgrown meat?" Brian Kateman



ATH !!



The biggest challenge lab meat will face is being accepted socially in western society.

Profile for aalexconnolly

A Different Perspective  

A Different Perspective