The 3 pathways to alternative proteins

How biotech could replace conventional livestock agriculture.

Support strong climate journalism! Donate to Canary Media to celebrate its one-year anniversary.

Conventional livestock agriculture, especially beef production, is a huge climate problem. It is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

But there’s good news: Alternative proteins are hot. Products in this category, including the Impossible Burger and Oatly, aim to replicate the taste and texture of conventional meat and dairy — but with drastically less carbon pollution.

These alternatives are breaking into fast food, fine dining and grocery stores. They’re garnering big-time investment, and they have the potential to displace a large portion of humanity’s livestock production. 

But the umbrella category of alternative protein” covers a smorgasbord of technologies. What are they, and how do they work? And where should finite research and development resources be targeted?

In this episode, Shayle talks to Liz Specht, the vice president of science and technology at the Good Food Institute. Liz explains the three main pillars of alternative protein technology: plant-based proteins, microbial fermentation and cultivated (or lab-grown) meat. Shayle and Liz discuss the technical bottlenecks in each of these pathways, including bioreactors, developing new crops and deriving new cell lines. They talk about not just mimicking the properties of conventional meat and dairy but even surpassing them. Plus, Liz recommends the one alternative meat you should try this weekend. 

Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee.net/join.

Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arcadia.com/catalyst.

We want to hear from you! Take our quick survey for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. This will help us bring you more relevant content.