In late November 2018, the American government released a report discussing the effects climate change will have on the country. Despite reports on the future effects of climate change being nothing new, this report was unprecedentedly serious, warning that there will be objectively significant impacts to America’s economy sooner than most people think, and that thousands of people each year will die in America alone. While the report only focused on America, the entire world is at risk, and needs to immediately begin making significant changes to mitigate the worst of the damage.
Many scientists have argued that the level of meat the masses consume is partly to blame. Livestock production requires significant quantities of land to be deforested to make way for it; and is responsible for a significant percentage of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Much of society is reluctant to stop eating meat, concerned over the loss of dietary protein as well as because of meat’s taste. One company truly trying to properly reproduce the flavour of meat in vegetarian substitutes is start-up Jet-Eat of Israel, which is using 3D printing to create plant-based foods with the flavour, texture and consistency of meat.
Jet-Eat was established circa the beginning of 2018 and as of November 2018 has five employees. Further to raising money from angel investors, as of November 2018 it is working on a seed round investment, intending to bring its product to market by the year 2020. Earlier in 2018, they took part in a four-month “accelerator program” launched by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food Accelerator Network in Israel at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. It was selected as a finalist to compete at the EIT Food Venture Summit, where it was one of three joint winners, each of which was awarded €60,000.
Researchers in Spain are also experimenting with 3D printed alternatives to meat, while other organizations have “discussed the possibility” of using 3D bioprinting to make synthetic meat in a laboratory, which wouldn’t require the cultivation of livestock. 3D printed food by itself won’t stop climate change, but it will hopefully be one of multiple factors in an approach towards addressing the problem.
The more the world’s population grows, the more it will need food that has to come from somewhere, increasingly from sources that won’t further damage the Earth. While it is objectively unrealistic to think the entire world’s population will be convinced to become vegans, making vegetables that taste like meat is one way to hopefully make a dent in society’s meat consumption.
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