As consumers seek to reduce their conventional meat intake for reasons from lifestyle and health to sustainability new, hybrid, options are coming to market. We’ve already seen plantbased/conventional meat products from companies like Danish Crown and mushroom/conventional meat from Applegate Farms hit the market. But hybrid meat products aren’t limited to conventional meat, cultivated meat ingredients are also contenders.
The latest in this range of hybrid products are bacon and pork belly from UK cultivated meat company Higher Steaks. “By weight, the pork belly prototypes contain 50% muscle cells grown in a bioreactor (without the use of bovine serum) and 50% plant-based proteins and fats; while the bacon contains 70% muscle cells and 30% plant-based materials”. Cost reduction is one major advantage of this approach, as plantbased ingredients are significantly cheaper than the cultivated meat ingredients. It also addresses the consumer issue of familiarity with the cultivated meat and reduces the barriers to entry for these products.
Add algae and biomass ingredients to the mix and the number of hybrid product combinations is immense. Furthermore, the use of scaffolds that are plantbased in a hybrid product offers no consumer issues with an “unexpected” plant ingredient in a “meat” product.
Hybrid products can help reduce the impact of conventional agriculture on the global environment. Firstly, they reduce the need for more conventional meat by “stretching” existing meat production. Secondly, by doing this they will greatly assist meeting the food requirements of the ever increasing global population.
As I’ve mentioned before there’s nothing “sacred” about where we obtain our protein. It’s simply a product of convenience and history. New technologies will continue to flourish and alternative protein sources will be an enduring feature of the Future of Food.