Bill Gates Wants Us to Eat 100% Synthetic Beef: What Is It?

Good News Notes:

“Bill Gates has a big idea to fight climate change. The Microsoft cofounder and chair of the investment fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures recently suggested that ‘all rich countries should move to 100 [percent] synthetic beef’ in an interview with MIT Technology Review.

Why is Gates, a direct and indirect investor in brands like Beyond Meats and Impossible Foods, pushing for synthetic meat—particularly synthetic beef—as a climate solution?

As The Western Journal points out, the Food and Agricultural Organization predicted a global shortage of protein-rich foods following the COVID-19 pandemic wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and approximately one billion people in the world suffer from protein deficiency, according to the Cornell Alliance for Science.

In wealthier nations, then, synthetic beef is a good place to start to solve that protein problem—and slow the effects of climate change, too. Here’s Gates, via the Technology Review:

‘You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time. Eventually, that green premium is modest enough that you can sort of change the [behavior of] people or use regulation to totally shift the demand. But […] the politics [are challenging]. There are all these bills that say it’s got to be called, basically, lab garbage to be sold. They don’t want us to use the beef label.’

Different agricultural and food lobbies around the world have pushed for regulation so that, for example, consumers can legally complain that vegan restaurants don’t serve them animal products. These same kinds of laws also protect consumers from ‘chocolate flavored candy’ instead of chocolate, for example, or ‘processed cheese food’ instead of cheese. But lately, products like Beyond Meat have made headway in being shelved next to the real meat where consumers can see and grab them.

This is good, because the problem Gates is identifying is huge. Agriculture accounts for 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. alone, where we have some of the most efficient agriculture in the world to produce our meat and dairy. Gates says developing nations with less advanced farming have an even longer way to go toward agricultural carbon neutrality.

When Gates refers to synthetic meat, he’s likely talking about the growing market of very sophisticated vegan meat alternatives like Beyond Meat, but he’s also an investor in at least one true “lab meat” startup. These companies grow individual chunks of muscle tissue—that’s what meat is—separately from any living animal.”

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