As consumers become more concerned about animal welfare and the environmental costs of raising animals, hi-tech startups are stepping in to create meat alternatives that taste like the real thing and the meat industry is taking notice. Roselle Chen reports.
It sizzles and even bleeds like real meat, but this burger is entirely plant based. Impossible Foods, a venture partly funded by the world's richest man, Bill Gates, and Google Ventures, has developed a lab-grown burger that matches the texture, aroma, and flavor of real meat. Patrick Brown is Impossible Foods founder and CEO. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PATRICK BROWN, IMPOSSIBLE FOODS FOUNDER AND CEO, SAYING: "Our mission being to as much a possible to replace the current system of meat production with something that is much better for the world." The burgers were a big hit at this San Francisco tasting event. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANNA MEDINA, JOURNALIST, SAYING: "I'm really impressed by its texture and it's pretty juicy and it's got ... it kind of mimics that ... I guess that kind of ... I don't know, it's kind of fatty, kind of juicy flavor of maybe a medium-cooked burger would have." (SOUNDBITE) (English) TRACI DES JARDINS, CHEF, SAYING: "I think we have to be thinking about solutions for the future but mostly we make choices for the restaurant based on what's delicious and I'm really impressed with the way this burger tastes." Global sales of meat substitutes jumped to an estimated $4 billion this year, a 42 percent rise since 2010. Tyson Foods, the biggest U.S. chicken processor, jumped on the fake meat bandwagon by taking on a 5 percent stake in Beyond Meat, also backed by Gates. Other meat packers are also stepping up production of "meats" made from peas, soy and other crops, predicting stronger sales growth for the segment than its traditional products.