Yummy – Synthetic Food…

In 2018 an estimated 69 billion chickens were slaughtered to feed the world’s population. This does not include the 1.5 billion pigs, 656 million turkeys, 574 million sheep and 302 million cows all killed to (still inadequately) provide protein for the 7.8 billion people alive today – see chart below. During the gluttonous excesses of the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year there were a number of fascinating announcements of new “agtech” start-ups, juxtaposed with allegations of industry price fixing, broken supply chains, and rampant Covid-19 outbreaks across food processing plants.

Of course, all of this is complicated by the pandemic. According to analysis reported in the journal, Obesity, 27.5% of study participants gained weight since the onset of the pandemic, while 17.0% actually lost weight.

The “protein production” industry has been posed for disruption for generations. With all the direct and indirect costs (feed, land, irrigation, pollution, transportation, wastage), raising livestock can be a highly inefficient approach to providing each of us the 50-70 grams necessary to satisfy daily protein requirements. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 26% of the earth’s surface is used for the grazing of livestock.

The pandemic has also exposed the inadequacies and vulnerabilities of the food supply chain. Product pricing is quite volatile and often whipsawed by sudden unforeseen changes in weather, international trade disputes, and animal diseases which can quickly decimate flocks and herds. Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau calculated that 12.7% of all Americans regularly suffer from (Read more...)