Last Call: Will the future be meat-free?

sample serving of Impossible Burger
Photo: DAVID MCNEW/AFP (Getty Images)
Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

We sincerely hope the phrase “Juicy Marbles” has been rolling around in your heads for most of the workday as it has in ours, ever since staff writer Lillian Stone wrote about the plant-based meat company that has successfully engineered a meatless filet mignon. It’s notoriously difficult for plant-based meat purveyors to engineer realistic whole cuts, like steak or bacon; that’s why burgers and ground meat and meatballs were some of the first items in the category to really take off. Juicy Marbles is sitting on a potential goldmine.

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Today, in a survey of 2,000 adults conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Vegan Strong, it was also revealed that one-third of Americans believe everyone (yes, everyone) will be meat-free in the future. The average year by which respondents predicted this might happen was 2039. That’s only 18 years away.

For comparison’s sake, 18 years ago was 2003. And while 2003 seems like it was only yesterday, things really were quite different; I mean, think about where kale stood in the American consciousness back then. Practically nonexistent! The Instant Pot, the air fryer, the Beyond Burger: none of it had entered our lexicons or our kitchens yet. So thinking 18 years into the future—a future in which finding ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions will become an even more urgent survival mechanism—it’s not unreasonable to think that meat consumption might take a sharp downturn, not only because people think it’s the more environmentally conscious choice, but because producing meat might become cost prohibitive and raise the price of steaks. What do you think? What kind of global sea changes would have to occur to nudge you into a perpetually plant-based lifestyle? We at The Takeout are just waiting for the price of Juicy Marbles (currently $147 for 600 grams, or roughly $36 per portion) to come down a bit.

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

DISCUSSION

pizzapartymadness
pizzapartymadness

Does meatless preclude lab grown meat? That’s what intrigues me a bit more. I understand that eating meat is both ethically and environmentally problematic, but I think lab grown meat solves that issue as well as plant based meat does.

You’re right though, the form of the product is going to be the biggest issue. Will I be able to have a meatless fried chicken leg? A meatless T-bone steak? A meatless lobster tail?

These are obstacles that lab grown meat needs to overcome as well, but it seems to me that it is better equipped to handle it.