The future of protein: It might taste like meat, but is it?

The environmental impact of raising livestock is often cited as a major contributor to global warming.

Nonetheless, millions of people are not prepared to exclude meat from their diet.

But would they accept a substitute, or even taste the difference?

Self-styled 'tour guide to the future', Pieter Geldenhuys says companies researching and producing meat substitutes are becoming more successful.

The visiting lecturer in Future Studies and Technology Strategy at London Business School joins Phemelo Motene to give us a glimpse into his crystal ball.

You can right now buy a burger and not know if it's meat or not.

Pieter Geldenhuys, Visiting lecturer in Future Studies and Technology Strategy - London Business School

Geldenhuys cites the success of a company called Beyond Meat.

Ethan Brown started a company about ten years ago called Beyond Meat. The strategy was to create a substitute to meat that the normal person wouldn't know the difference.

Pieter Geldenhuys, Visiting lecturer in Future Studies and Technology Strategy - London Business School

Beyond Meat has got more than 33,000 distributors around the world already, moving in to about 20 countries.

Pieter Geldenhuys, Visiting lecturer in Future Studies and Technology Strategy - London Business School

Compared to a substitute for ground-meat like burger patties though, other meat products such as chicken strips and steaks are more difficult to mimic.

Geldenhuys points out that although the technology is not new, South Africa has only become aware of it quite recently.

He says it could be the way forward for a continent like Africa, faced with a population explosion over the next hundred years.

We're going to move from 1.5-billion to around 4-billion people. We'll have to look at new ways to feed a growing population. If the environmental impact can be less... I think this is a very good strategy.

Pieter Geldenhuys, Visiting lecturer in Future Studies and Technology Strategy - London Business School

For more on what the future holds for your diet, listen below:


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