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XPrize launches a $15-million competition to develop alternative meats

XPrize launches a $15-million competition to develop alternative meats
A new XPrize competition centers on the development of alternatives to traditional meats
A new XPrize competition centers on the development of alternatives to traditional meats
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A new XPrize competition centers on the development of alternatives to traditional meats
A new XPrize competition centers on the development of alternatives to traditional meats

The future of food security, sustainable agriculture and the environment as a whole call for a lower reliance on traditional meat products over the coming decades, and a newly announced XPrize contest puts this issue center stage. The Feed the Next Billion competition carries the lofty ambition of reshaping the global meat industry, by encouraging the development of chicken and fish alternatives.

The global population is expected to grow from around 7.7 billion currently to around 10 billion by 2050, and serious questions remain around the impacts of current agricultural practices with that many mouths to feed. Producing enough food for the Earth’s inhabitants without gravely endangering its natural ecosystems and wildlife will involve a serious course correction, and getting our protein from sources other than traditional meats shapes as part of the solution.

Lab-grown meats such as those from Impossible Foods and Eat Just, whose cultured chicken was approved for sale in Singapore this week, are a couple of examples of how technology can replicate the look, taste and feel of the real thing. Similarly, the Feed the Next Billion competition tasks entrants with doing just that with chicken and fish.

The winning teams will need to produce consistent cuts of meat that cook like real chicken and fish, and offer the same nutritional value. The alternative meats must, however, have a lower environmental footprint than conventional meats and the teams behind them must demonstrate how production can be scaled up for distribution across the globe.

“Billions of individuals do and will desire higher quality protein as a food source, but the earth is incapable of providing this with traditional livestock. A much more sustainable, scalable methodology is required,” says XPrize Founder Peter H. Diamandis, MD. “XPrize Feed the Next Billion seeks to create poultry and fish that is affordable, sustainable, more nutritious, and a lower cost than mechanisms now in place. We believe hundreds of entrepreneurs will focus on driving breakthroughs in this critical and important area to help feed the world.”

Registration is open from now until April 28, 2021, with the winners of the Feed the Next Billion XPrize to be announced in 2024.

Source: XPrize

What is it about meat that is appealing? The texture? That can be replicated. Protein? Vegetable sources can produce that. The flavour? Surely any flavour can be created? Do we really need to produce cultured 'living' meat? It must take a long time to produce, so will always be expensive. Maybe, as ordinary meat becomes more scarce, people will naturally switch to other foods.
If this comes to fruition, we should also be planning for enormous levels of economic (and probably political) dislocation. Current animinal-production factories (and the associated butchering and distribution systems) underpin regional economies all around the world. Some of the assets may transfer to a new system, but a lot of them won't.
The entire idea of hosting open competition for prizes seems like a wonderful idea and Xprize has had some success solving hard problems (private space industry) in the past. This is a pretty ambitious undertaking but if they have successful entries it could have huge implications to food supply. The entire multibillion dollar autonomous driving industry was mostly created as a direct result of the Darpa Grand Challenged which offered a $1 million prize to a team that could navigate autonomously through the desert. It's an unconventional way to drive innovation but the results and impact of some of these competitions have been pretty significant. Google did this by offering a $1 million prize pool to someone that could build a smaller more efficient inverter (little box challenge) and they had 3 entries that crushed the goals for the challenge. I think at this point I could be convinced we should host challenges such as this for every hard problem facing society. I'm grateful to folks like Xprize for taking the initiative and putting up the funding.
Soylent Green........
Star trek replicators on Walmart's shelves soon!
@paul314 Artificial meat has a long long way to go before we need to be concerned with..job displacement... Your comment would be like if someone offered a prize for anyone curing cancer and your biggest concern would be the people currently employed to provide costly treatment for people with cancer. it would take a long time to hit volume and drive costs low enough to impact the actual meat market and there are still many kinds of meats to solve for. Imagine if the people that invented seatbelts or antilock breaks were mostly concerned with the impact to health care jobs or repair shops from fewer accidents and injuries. People will probably still be eating meat from animals for long after I'm dirt and we still need to scale food production to continue feeding a growing world population sustainably.
Paul314's concern about economic dislocation is valid, but it's only ~6% of US GDP. If the raw material for cultured meat is agricultural, it'll be a small dislocation for some. Round up beans rather than round up cows. Transport beans/grain instead of livestock. Veterinarians might face hardships, but jobs dealing with crop blights would increase. The job market is constantly changing, and the economy keeps growing.
Nelson Hyde Chick
We are being forced to take more and more herculean tasks to sustain an ever growing humanity which will never make-up the balance of a dying nature. With current technology an Earth of three to four billion could be an Eden, at 7.7 billion things are going to shit fast and an Earth of 10 billion humans will just be one huge living Hell. Go anthropocene!
A new name needs to be given to "alternative meat". It sounds unappealing. The world will be more interested in a new term - perhaps something like "new protein". This way people won't feel like they are being fooled. The word "meat" is associated with animals. For this idea of getting people to eat less meat to work, they must perceive "new protein" as something which they would prefer. Trying to squeeze the word "meat" in somewhere is not the way to go. A real change can only take place when people stop seeing the word "meat" - which reminds them of steaks, ribs and KFC.
Donovan O'Connor
So basically you want to deceive people into thinking that they're eating meat. Basically you wanna play God. They may not know at 1st, but their body sure will.This explains all the dead meat farmers.This is nothing more than a depopulation agenda! Fact is man cannot create anything better than god can, and there is plenty of food for everyone. This limited resources thing is all a big giant lie. Globalist have figured out how to live longer, and have robots do all there work, so now they don't need or want humans to cook their steak anymore. They filling you with fake science and lies. They are paying you to dig your own grave as well as others, and you will because of your greed. Just remember the global elite is a small club and you ain't in it!