Global meat production is projected to double to over 450 million tonnes by 2050 with demand increasing by 4 per cent per year driven by urbanization, income growth and globalization. Globally, the livestock industry employs at least 1.3 billion people and consumers spend up to $1 trillion on meat every year. This livestock intensification has allowed production to meet rising demand leading to severe health, welfare and environmental consequences.
Meat production is a major contributor of environmental change and land resource depletion and is responsible for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile around 70 per cent of global agricultural land is used for some aspect of livestock production, contributing to land degradation, biodiversity loss and water pollution, as well as poor animal welfare.
Unhealthy diets and obesity resulting from overconsumption of meat is also a leading cause of obesity and non-communicable diseases particularly among the poorest people. It’s estimated that consumption of red and processed meat could globally lead to 2.4 million deaths and $285 billion in healthcare costs by 2020.
Yet increasing investment and commercialization of plant-based meat, technological advancements in cultured meat, proposals for a ‘meat tax’ and shifts in consumer behaviour have the potential to disrupt the industry and therefore shift consumption towards healthier and sustainable diets.
Can these new ideas, alternatives and business models gain widespread consumer acceptance and help reinvent the future of the meat industry?
Followed by an interactive exhibition, this event, organized by the Hoffman Centre for Sustainable Resource Economy at Chatham House, brings together consumers, retailers, producers, scientists, business and media leaders, policymakers and campaigners to discuss the range of cutting-edge technologies that could shape our future diets.
Simon Billing, Executive Director, Eating Better Alliance
Rosie Wardle, Programme Director, Jeremy Coller Foundation
Joshua Flack, Senior Scientist, MosaMeat
Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business, Marks & Spencer
Tess Kelly, Sustainability Projects Officer, Quorn