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Alternative Proteins

Alternative Proteins

The replacement of animal-derived products is the challenge of our time. Globally, meat consumption is at its highest recorded levels. According to the UN’s forecasts, global meat production could double by 2050 to meet the growing global demand for protein. With plant-based meat, cultivated meat, and fermentation, we can significantly reduce our environmental and climate impact, the risk of zoonoses and diseases, eliminate a production system based on cruelty to animals, and feed more people with fewer resources. Alternative proteins are proteins produced using plant cells, animal cell cultures, or by fermenting microorganisms, often engineered to taste like animal-based products. The production of these proteins requires minimal resources compared to conventional methods of animal-derived product production, thus helping to drastically reduce water and land use, CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, and deforestation. Current meat production systems also raise significant ethical issues: 56 billion animals are slaughtered annually for their meat, 9.7 billion in the United States alone. Numerous options are already available to consumers today, while others, such as cultivated meat, are still in the development and approval phase.

Plant Proteins

Plant proteins are a source of protein obtained directly from plants. Plant-based alternatives such as tofu and tempeh have existed for centuries, but in recent years, the market for plant-based meat alternatives has significantly expanded due to the production of burgers and other plant-based products that are practically indistinguishable from conventional meat. Plant-based meat has a significantly lower environmental impact compared to conventional meat: its production uses 72 to 99 percent less water and 47 to 99 percent less land than conventional meat. Additionally, plant-based meat emits 51 to 91 percent less pollutants into water and 30 to 90 percent less air pollutants.

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Cultivated meat

The process of producing cultured meat, also known as clean, cultivated, synthetic, or artificial meat, involves extracting a few cells from an animal through a biopsy. The cells are then placed inside a bioreactor, where they are nourished with a culture medium rich in amino acids and vitamins. The final product has a structure, composition, and nutritional values similar to those of meat obtained through traditional methods.

Several studies have demonstrated that the production of cultured meat uses soil much more efficiently compared to the production of poultry and beef, with savings ranging from 60 to 300 percent for poultry and from 2000 to 4000 percent for beef.

Cultured meat also represents a tool that could play a central role in ensuring greater protection of the right to health, thanks to its reduced bacterial load and absence of antibiotics, as well as the possibility of regulating the content of saturated fats or other harmful nutrients.


Fermentation is a process that utilizes microorganisms for the production of alternative proteins. Like plant-based and cultivated meat, proteins derived from fermentation are better for the planet, people, and animals.

Mycelium, microalgae, microorganisms, and fermented plant proteins can provide the sensory experiences and positive nutritional aspects of animal products, but without undesirable substances such as cholesterol, antibiotics, and hormones. In addition to being produced in themselves, ingredients obtained through fermentation can be used for plant-based or cultivated products.

For plant-based, egg, and dairy alternatives, traditional fermentation can help optimize the digestibility, taste, texture, and nutrients of existing plant-based ingredients.

In the field of cultivated meat, fermentation can contribute to efficiently producing nutrients and growth factors for cell culture media. Furthermore, proteins such as collagen or fibronectin produced through fermentation can be key animal-free components for constructing more complex cultivated meat products.

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