By Bilal Hafeez 30-07-2019
In: podcasts | Business & Technology

The Secret History of the Future: Meat and Potatoes (The Economist Radio, 36 min listen)

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(You can listen to the podcast by clicking here)

Mass production of meat is devastating the environment. It uses vast amounts of land and water and is a huge contributor to greenhouse emissions. We’ve heard this before, but meat is now sparking a renewed ethical discourse around animal slaughter and human health negatives. Given the number of meat alternatives that are nutrient dense and cheaper to produce, why not ditch eating animals all together? History tells us that it’s a lengthy and difficult process to change habits around food on a mass scale. For decades in Europe, the potato was considered an unappetising and potentially poisonous crop, similar to the tomato in Italy. This insightful podcast touches upon all surfaces of the discussion, from lab grown cow meat in a petri dish, to start-ups encouraging insects as environmentally friendly and nutritious appetisers.

Why does this matter? A substitute meat industry is threatening conventional producers. Plant based start-ups like Beyond Meat, which saw its shares soar 800% since its IPO in May, have racked up multi-billion dollar valuations. They claim to be a much better choice health-wise and are riding the global wave of climate change outrage. But the market is still new and comparatively small, and it might take some time before the soy bean burgers become the new beef.

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