Plant-based and laboratory meat, and oat milk

Due to worse-than-expected results of companies producing meat from plant ingredients, some start-ups are turning to… real meat. Plant-based meats typically have a long list of ingredients, discouraging consumers and raising concerns about highly processed foods. For this reason, some start-ups intend to add another ingredient to the mix: animal fat. Some companies grow fat in laboratories, while others use animal by-products from traditional meat production and mix them with plant ingredients.

Scientists at ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering used non-allergenic wheat protein glutenin to grow a layer of striated muscle and fat in the lab that can be combined to create a meat-like texture. Glutenin – a protein in gluten that people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity typically do not respond to – served as a scaffold on which cells and layers of meat could grow.

Oat milk – one of the most popular alternatives to cow’s milk – has recently been criticised by nutritionists and environmentalists. Nutritional problems with oat milk may be due to three main reasons: fibre content, the amount of sugar/fast-releasing carbohydrates, and additives such as emulsifiers, sugars and flavours used by some commercial brands. Additionally, the oats needed to produce oat milk are often grown in intensive systems, monocultures and highly industrialised agriculture.

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