Meat from the field, vegetables from the tank

A cow on a green mountain meadow, cackling chickens in front of a rustic wooden shed, happy coffee pickers: we know such images from product packaging and advertising. They do not show reality, as most of you should be aware. Instead of alpine panoramas, cows look at gray barn walls – constantly pregnant to provide lots of milk. Eggs, especially those processed into finished products, do not come from grandma’s chicken yard, but from windowless barracks of factory farming. And those who pick coffee often do so for a pittance under miserable working conditions.

More and more people are bothered by these contradictions. Some do without animal products entirely, others are looking for alternatives that they consider more sustainable from an ethical and ecological point of view. There is enormous economic potential in the changing demand: According to an analysis by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), by 2035 more than ten percent of the food proteins previously supplied by animals will probably come from alternative sources. That corresponds to a conservatively estimated market volume of 290 billion dollars.

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The most prominent example – meat from the laboratory – is often picked up by the media, but still has a long way to go before it is ready for the mass market. Next is the development of meat alternatives from plants. According to the BCG analysis, many plant-based protein products could catch up with their animal counterparts in price, taste and texture as early as 2023. The BCG experts also see food from bioreactors on the right track: milk proteins, for example, which are produced by genetically modified microorganisms. They can be processed into dairy products that do not require a single cow to be milked. Expected to be from 2025, they will replace real milk in many areas…

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