ONE of the technologies I have been fascinated about and which I think will solve a lot of earth’s problems significantly is fake meat. As one columnist terms it, this could be the year of faux meat.

On May 2, 2019, a startup called Beyond Meat Inc. went public and on its first day, its share price rose 250 percent. This company, which sold just US$88 million in 2018 and lost $30 million, was suddenly valued at over $5 billion.

Impossible Foods, on the other hand, which is still privately owned reportedly raised $300 million on a valuation of over $2 billion.

Why is this so hot?

Both companies produce beef and other meats that look like meat and taste like meat, but are made from plants. What’s so cool about that?

Well, first is that it takes out the stigma of killing animals, and therefore, people who are vegetarians due to religion can now eat burgers and steaks! And of course, it being made by plants, they say that it has the same levels of protein and iron found in meat, and has the same calories, but it has less total fat, and is cholesterol-free.

Moreover, since the meat is made, it can also be vitamin fortified. So it is also much healthier. Each firm also claimed to be nut-free, dairy-free and/or gluten-free.

But what this means in the long term is the effect it has on the environment.

Impossible Foods claims that because it produces inside the laboratories, there is no more need to spend so much for land to raise animals. Also, cows and animals are among the highest contributors to waste, and greenhouse gases.

According to its statistics, producing Impossible Burgers will now use up 95 percent less land, use 74 percent less water, and create 87 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.

Beyond Burger claimed it derives its proteins mainly from peas, while Impossible Burger derived it from soy beans.

We do still need land to grow the plants. But it’s better than growing the plants to feed the animals, which will then be slaughtered to feed the people; then what remains is simply just growing the plants, and make it directly to meat to feed the people. Technically, that means we can still double or even triple our population and produce even less pollution or gases.

In the US, it is rapidly gaining market share, and is now available in various supermarket chains.

Restaurants like Burger King, White Castle, Red Robin, Applebee’s and over 9,000 restaurants all over the country are now starting to offer it, mainly because the consumers are demanding it, even if it is initially more expensive than real beef.