Meat 2.0

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    IN THE FUTURE, WE’LL BE EATING A LOT LESS MEAT

    That’s good, but giving up meat on a huge scale is a pie-in-the-sky notion that, to put it bluntly, ain’t gonna happen. Not anytime soon and maybe not ever.

    There are plenty of reasons to cut back ranging from what raising and slaughtering animals does to exacerbate climate and other environmental issue to the barbarism of the slaughter.

    A GOOD START

    If we can grow cultured chicken and beef on an industrial scale and at prices at or below what we pay now for them, we’ll eliminate a big chunk of the problem. Cultured beef, in particular, could substitute for ground beef, and we use, literally, hundreds of thousands of tons of ground beef. Cultured chicken could be used in many dishes where, for example, diced or ground or highly processed chicken breast is called for.

    PROBLEMS REMAIN, HOWEVER

    While there is the possibility of using less naturally-grown beef for ground beef, to reach the goal us using less beef, we’d need to find ways to reduce the demand for the rest of the cow. The steak cuts and the ribs, for example. And that’s not to mention all that meat that typically becomes ground beef.

    And then similar problems arise for pork. Ground pork is not nearly as big a thing as ground beef. We love pork chops and pork ribs. Let’s not forget bacon, either. While some of the turkey-based bacon substitutes are tasty enough to eat and enjoy, nobody thinks they are nearly as good as the real thing and don’t we want to stop slaughtering turkey’s, too?

    It may take taxing our favorite specialty cuts to reduce demand. Some people have steak all the time, for example, but raising the price of supermarket steak to Ruth’s Chris price levels could turn them into luxury items reserved for special occations.

    There’s a plethora of other meat products as well. Mutton and lamb, various pates.

    But the biggest and most intractable problem, for now, may be just scaling up production to produce an affordable solution.

    AS FOR FISH

    There’s no doubt the oceans, and certain species in particular, are being overfished. Fish farming on a huge scale could go a long way toward solving the overfishing problem.

    IN THE END

    It is a problem in need of a solution and the solutions are either out there or on the horizon but it will take time to produce substitutes acceptable to consumers.

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