Most 'meat' in 2040 will not come from dead animals, says report

Consultants say 60% will be grown in vats or plant-based products that taste like meat

Vegan meat replacements
About $1bn has been invested in vegan meat replacements and the industry is growing rapidly. Photograph: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian

Most of the meat people eat in 2040 will not come from slaughtered animals, according to a report that predicts 60% will be either grown in vats or replaced by plant-based products that look and taste like meat.

The report by the global consultancy AT Kearney, based on expert interviews, highlights the heavy environmental impacts of conventional meat production and the concerns people have about the welfare of animals under industrial farming.

???The large-scale livestock industry is viewed by many as an unnecessary evil,??? the report says. ???With the advantages of novel vegan meat replacements and cultured meat over conventionally produced meat, it is only a matter of time before they capture a substantial market share.???

The conventional meat industry raises billions of animals and turns over $1tn (??785bn) a year. However, the huge environmental impacts have been made plain in recent scientific studies, from the emissions driving the climate crisis to wild habitats destroyed for farmland and the pollution of rivers and oceans.