The high use of chemicals and antibiotics in livestock production has led to an increase in consumers’ health concerns. Hence, the demand for organic and clean foods is on the rise. Organic food has gained much popularity over the last decade. For instance, in 2020, U.S. consumers spent USD 56,000 million on organic produce. Clean meat or lab-grown meat usually has a higher Omega 3 fat content than conventional meat.
Over the last 40 years, antibiotics have been widely used in livestock production to prevent, treat, and control diseases, enhance the growth of animals, and improve their productivity. At the farm level, the optimal level of antibiotic use is largely an economic decision for the farmer within the context of good animal health and welfare. The global demand for veterinary antibiotics has increased sharply as large intensive animal production operations have developed over the last 30 years, particularly in emerging economies.
High antibiotic use in food animal production has been linked to the risk of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as bacteria mutate and become resistant to commonly used antibiotics. There are concerns regarding AMR and the transmission of resistant genes and bacteria between different species. Frequent and inappropriate use of antibiotics accelerates the emergence and spread of resistant pathogens. Many antibiotics used in animal husbandry are also used in human medicine, thus increasing the risk of pathogens crossing over and the emergence of multidrug-resistant pathogens. Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that this problem could cause up to ten million deaths by 2050 and reduce global GDP by 2–3.8%. The WHO has also projected that by 2050 the potential impact of AMR on animal production could reduce global animal production by 2.6–7.5%, with the most severe impact likely to occur in low-income countries (up to 11%). Hence, consumers are spending more on purchasing clean meat products due to increased health awareness. This increasing demand for clean meat is expected to support the adoption of lab-grown meat products.
In recent years, the development of alternative proteins has received much support globally. Governments can help reduce the negative impacts of traditional meat production by supporting the production of meat alternatives and, in the process, creating thousands of new green jobs. Some governments have already recognized the opportunities in the alternative proteins space. In 2020, Singapore became the first country to authorize cultivated meat. In 2021, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced funding its flagship cultivated-protein research center. The U.K.’s recent National Food Strategy identified the adoption of alternative proteins as a key part of the transition the country needs to make. Thus, the clean eating trend is expected to support the growth of the lab-grown meat market.
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