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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The alternative protein industry has attracted much media attention. It has become increasingly clear that current meat production systems are unsustainable except in grass-fed low-volume production systems. The new alternative meat industry seeks to introduce new technologies that produce ‘meat’ sustainably. By using IT-terms such as 1.0 to 4.0, this analysis classifies traditional herding and grazing systems as 1.0, feedlot production as meat 2.0, plant-based meat alternatives as meat 3.0, and cultured meat alternatives as meat 4.0. An overview of current developments in the meat 3.0 and 4.0 industries highlights the recent technological advances. The environmental and health benefits of meat 3.0 and 4.0 are discussed and the cultural and business implications. Finally, the consequences of meat 4.0 for a sustainable planet and its social foundations are revealed, identifying the billion livelihoods that depend on meat 1.0 and 2.0 production. The alternative protein industry could have disruptive effects as well as benefits to the planet and society.

Keywords: lab meat, alternative proteins, natural resources, food security, food systems

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