Redefining vegan meat – a new breed of high-tech ‘alternative meat’ is winning over carnivores

The late chef, writer and journalist Anthony Bourdain was not one to mince words on certain diets. In his book Confidential kitchen (2000), he writes, “The vegetarians and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any leader worth their salt. To me, the bottomless life of veal, pork fat, sausage, offal, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of all that is good and decent in the human spirit and an affront to all that I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food. Bourdain’s vitriol against vegans is felt by many others who perhaps adopt a less aggressive tone, but are also put off by people who sometimes make “bad travelers and bad guests”. Interestingly, Bourdain’s admirers included many people who completely disagreed with his anti-vegetarian or anti-vegan sentiments. The late food and travel writer and CNN host Unknown parts conquered hearts with his passion and love for people and their traditions. When future generations look back on Bourdain, they may find that his kindness to people was – for a long time – not imitated by vegan activists, some of whom gave the impression of loving animals while forgetting to love their fellows.

That said, those future generations likely won’t agree with any of the deceased celebrity’s views on vegans or vegetarians, because the wave of change has now, to use a lazy analogy, become a tsunami. By 2040, according to some estimates, only 40% of the world’s population will continue to eat meat. And statistics show that the vast majority of those who have already given up animal protein say they did so because they were motivated by concern for animal welfare, followed by health, then the environment. But few, if any, vegan converts say they quit meat because they despised its tastes and textures. In a perfect world where they could be obtained without harming an animal or the environment, all but a very small minority would continue to enjoy these foods that Anthony Bourdain loved so much and called “a source of joy”. This perfect world is closing. We’re already at a place where vegan meat substitutes are championed by barbecue experts and celebrity chefs, including Marco Pierre White. White is the author of white heat, a “seminal” cookbook to many in the restaurant industry, and in numerous interviews the book has been repeatedly cited by Bourdain as a major influence. End of 2021, the watchman reported at an event at Marco Pierre White’s restaurant in Leicester Square where the celebrity chef invited investors, connoisseurs, as well as former MasterChef winners to taste an “alternative meat” created with a 3D printer.

It seems clear that when you convinced the godfather of celebrity chefs – and a man once described as a “shameless carnivore” – not just to bless but to promote a meat replacement product based on taste and texture rather than ethical or environmental concerns, that we are on the threshold of a new era. Some have called the new vegan meat products “a whole new animal” or “a different species.” These plant-based offerings come from startups that only started creating artificial meat in 2020, but did so with a radically new mission statement. Yes, they want to save the environment and promote animal welfare, but that comes after alternative meat production which wins because of its meat. “The 3D printed beef substitute”, Reuters reported In November 2021, “has been rolled out to Israel, as well as Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. A blend of soy and pea protein, chickpeas, beets, nutritional yeast and coconut fat, it mimics beef flank steak, also called flank steak… The company plans to build five factories across Israel, the Europe, the United States and Asia in the coming months. a few years… As technology advances and improves the taste and variety of alternative meats, sales in the sector could reach $140 billion by 2029, or around 10% of the global meat market, Barclays estimates.

A vegan product capturing ten percent of the global meat industry is a feat almost beyond the imagination of old-school campaigners. Looking back five years, it is reasonable to assume that the already developed technology that now prints layers of “alternative fat” or “alternative muscle”, and the AI ​​programs that control these 3D printers will only get better, while at the same time the price of the products will drop as production increases . It is impossible to say what Anthony Bourdain would have done with a new “new meat”. He may have been conquered, just like chef Marco Pierre White, or he may have resisted and repeated his quip about a “Soylent Green Future.” Some will never come, just like some will never accept cryptocurrency or NFTs. Like virtual money and artwork held in the cloud, however, ‘alternative meat’ blurs the line between what’s real and what’s artificial as we step into a future that might not matter too much. of these lines. As one writer noted, “If a kabab looks, tastes, smells and even cooks like a kabab… isn’t it a kabab?