In a few short years, artificial “meat” has gone from co-op curio to heavily hyped menu item at giant chains like Dunkin’ and Burger King.
America consumes more meat than any other country — it’s a trillion-dollar market. New widespread awareness of meat eating’s heavy environmental toll has accelerated the race to find a more sustainable alternative.
The heavy hitters you’ve probably heard of are Impossible, which hit a $2 billion valuation during its latest funding round, and Beyond Meat, which went public this year at $1.5 billion. But there’s a lot more to talk about: not just plant-based protein, but new innovations in lab-grown meat and, yes, edible insects.
Here to help us sort through this exploding industry is Larisa Rudenko, a research affiliate in the Program on Emerging Technologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She walks us through what’s out there, how to sell it to mainstream America and where this is all headed.
Plus, Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood are doing an alternative protein taste test of their own.
Later in the show, we’ll answer a listener question about what’s more environmentally friendly, buying an artificial Christmas tree or cutting down a live one each year.
By the way, this is our last show before we go on break for the holidays. But don’t worry — for the next three weeks, we’ll be revisiting some of our favorite interviews of the year, tallying up just how prescient we were with our 2019 predictions and offering new ones for 2020.
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