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Real meat is just a tough act to copy

Dirck Steimel

I’m not a fan of fake meat, but you do have to admire the manufacturers’ ingenuity as they at­tempt to copy the real thing.

The latest: a scheme to create a fake ribeye steak using 3-D printers and live beef tissue. Seems like a nutty idea to me, but the developers, an Israeli company called Aleph Farms, assure us that their cell-based product mirrors the texture and flavor of the real thing. 

Color me skeptical. 

But I do know you can find real ribeye steaks at your local meat counter with the nutrition and flavor we’ve all come to expect from high quality Iowa-raised beef. While you’re there, you can pick up some pork and other meats too. They all provide the flavor and nutrition consumers all over the world appreciate. 

Of course, Aleph and other fake meat purveyors are selling sustainability to investors and consumers. And as ingenious as they are in developing fake meat, the imitators are way off when they claim that meat brewed up in a lab is somehow better for the planet than the real thing.

Agriculture, in total, accounts for less than 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, far less than transportation and electricity generation, and livestock production is a subset of that. Raising cattle and other livestock produces high protein foods using fewer resources. Plus, cattle and other ruminants have a unique ability to produce higher quality protein from grasses and other plants.

It just goes to show that as hard as they try, the fake meat purveyors just can’t match the nutritional value, the sustainability and the taste of real meat. 


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