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The Guardian newspaper has listed meat and dairy alternative products as the number one ‘megatrend’ that could control climate change.

In a piece called The seven megatrends that could beat global warming: ‘There is reason for hope’, Environment Editor Damian Carrington writes: “A series of fast-moving global megatrends, spurred by trillion-dollar investments, indicates that humanity might be able to avert the worst impacts of global warming.

“From trends already at full steam..to those just emerging, such as plant-based alternatives to meat, these trends show that greenhouse gas emissions can be halted.”

Environmental footprint

Carrington acknowldges the impact animal agriculture has on the planet – and also says that ‘people hate being told what to eat’.

But unless people turn away from high impact foods like meat and dairy, ‘there is no way to beat global warming’.

He writes: “However, just in the last year, a potential solution has burst on to the market: plant-based meat, which has a tiny environmental footprint.”

High tech ‘meat’

High tech plant-based meats have been creating a buzz for some time now.

The higher profile brands include Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat – both these start-ups use have used innovative science to ‘break down’ the components of meat and rebuild it using just plants.

Impossible Foods uses a vegan, genetically modified ‘heme’ – an ingredient found in blood that gives animal flesh its distinctive twang.

Beyond Meat has created a vegan patty so realistic it ‘bleeds’ on the grill.

Lab meat

In addition, more attention – and cash – is being pumped into ‘lab meat’ – i.e. meat cultured in a lab.

While not a vegan product (it uses started cells from an animal), lab meat has a massively reduced carbon footprint compared to factory farmed animals.

These types of food are set to become more commonplace in the not too distant future.

Carring quotes Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson, who recently said: “I believe that in 30 years or so we will no longer need to kill any animals and that all meat will either be [lab] or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone.”

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