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This week we are stressing the importance of innovation in the meat industry. There are different public concerns putting pressure on the business model of the meat industry, causing alternative meat products to slowly take over the market. 

Problem Statement: One of the concerns is the impact of antibiotics. In the US, 80% of all antibiotics are used to prevent diseases in animals. By consuming meat, human beings are continually exposed to antibiotics, which contributes to antibiotic resistance. 

Another concern is the animal suffering. Economies of scale are a result of maximizing productivity, which, in the meat industry, translates into overcrowded spaces with genetically identical animals. This lack of biological diversity makes the farm highly fragile. Moreover, overcrowding can lead to in-stock cannibalism, which is a huge food safety and welfare issue.

A third concern is the environmental impact. One kilogram of cow meat requires more than 25 kilograms of feed and 20,000 liters of water. While meat and dairy production account for only 18% of total calories around the globe, they occupy 83% of farmland, and generate 60% of greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide. This concern is found to be the most important driver for millennials to reduce meat consumption. 

Scope for Innovation: All these concerns are accelerating the growth of the alternative meat market. The solution to these concerns is to stop eating meat. However, it is important to find alternatives for the recommended daily intake of proteins. This is where alternative meat products come into play.

Alternative meat facilitates the reduction of meat consumption and contributes to flexitarianism. Flexitarians, or casual vegetarians, are people who are reducing daily meat consumption. It is said that this group will drive the innovation revolution in the (alt-) meat industry.

Solution of the Week: Founded in 2018, Redefine Meat is an important player in the alt-meat market. The Israeli company built a technological platform to develop, launch and scale the next generation of alternative meat, by using 3D printing technology. Through the use of advanced food formulations, their digitally modeled meat has the same appearance, texture and flavor as whole muscle meat.

3D printing has three major benefits. The first is precision — they can replicate the exact geometries that can duplicate the muscles and fat structures, leading to the feeling of eating real meat. Another benefit is flexibility — using a 3D printer you can print different shapes, sizes, combination of ‘fat’ and ‘muscle’ without resetting the machine. Moreover, a 3D printer can localize production, resulting in a reduction in transportation costs associated with meat distribution.