Most 'meat' won't come from dead animals in 2040: report

In 2040, most of the “meat” people eat won’t come from slaughtered animals, a new report says.

Instead of sourcing meat products from dead animals, 60 percent of meat will be either grown in vats or won’t actually be meat, but instead plant-based products that look like meat, the report from global consulting firm AT Kearney found.

Some 35 percent of all meat will be cultured in 2040, and 25 percent will be vegan replacements, the report says.

“The global agriculture and meat industry faces enormous challenges to meet the growing global meat demand while transforming to a more sustainable meat system,” the report says.


The report cites challenges to find arable land due to climate change and expanding cities, as well as health risks posed to humans if they eat livestock treated with antibiotics to avoid epidemics.

While almost half of the world’s crops are fed to livestock, only 15 percent of the plant calories are later eaten by humans when they eat meat. This proportion is much higher with cultured meat and plant-based replacements, which retain some 75 percent of the inputted nutrition, The Guardian reports.

In addition, “the shift towards flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan lifestyles is undeniable,” leading to many people eating less meat or switching to nonmeat proteins including legumes and nuts.

Some are choosing to eat less meat for dietary reasons, new lifestyle trends, or because they’re “becoming more conscious towards the environment and animal welfare,” AT Kearney partner Carsten Gerhardt told The Guardian.