Ten years from now, cows won’t be our milk suppliers anymore

Ingredients For Food Innovators hosts a Dinner Meeting on Thursday, September 20, on the subject of Future-proof food. One of the keynotes that evening will be Peter Verstrate of Mosa Meat. He’s the food technician behind world’s first slaughter free hamburger. “After a period of ten thousand years, we stop keeping animals and we proceed by keeping cells.”
Peter Verstrate has over 20 years of experience in the meat processing industry, holding various positions from R&S and QA to Operations. He is one of the founders of Mosa Meat and as CEO he is marketing in-vitro meat products.
What conditions should future proof food comply with according to you?
“It must be effective to produce; I mean smart and environmentally friendly. The production of food has a lot of influence on our surroundings, the environment, deforestation, you name it. We have to avoid that. Additionally, future-proof food is healthy and flexible. Flexible means: not constrained to local circumstances. We have to develop techniques that are not linked to any region, so they can be used wherever in the world.”
Why are change makers in the food ingredients industry rare and why do we see hardly any out of the box innovations in food?
“I think the food industry on a lot of subjects still is a relatively conservative world, whose thoughts are mainly focused on their own square footage. Research and development – even at universities – most often is done by improving existing techniques and ideas. Keeping animals, plants in soil. But why not plants without soil, with only fluids, other fluids. Or not an animal, but just the cells?”
Why did you do succeed to develop something outside your own box?
“Partly that has to do with coincidence. I met somebody with a good idea and was immediately triggered and I could well imagine that this technology could replace the world of meat -where I was part of at the time. I directly believed in the technology of in-vitro meat, however, it was no more than a promise. That is an important point: dedicate time and energy to things of which you’re not completely sure they will succeed. Nowadays employees of technology companies are obliged to invest 10 or even 20 percent of their time in activities completely different than their current job. In order to create ideas. I can imagine that this is a bit much for the food industry with its low-profit margins, however, it is important to work on developments that will not directly give value for money.”
What can visitors of the IFFI Dinner Meeting expect of your keynote?
“A glimpse of the future. One in which we will stop keeping animals after ten thousand years and continue by keeping cells. I will show you why we do this, how it works and at which term. I will also talk about additional areas, like cellular agriculture; in ten years time milk won’t be supplied by cows anymore. We will learn to better control the cells in animals that supply the milk, proteins, and eggs. With these techniques, we can, in the end, replace animals. This could have serious consequences for the business of some of the participants. So it is time to consider these developments, especially when you still want to exist in 50 years.
More on this next IFFI Dinner Meeting you can find here.
The original text of this article (Dutch) can be found here:

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