American Meat Producers Heavily Invest in “Novel Protein” AKA Lab-Grown Meat and Bugs

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COP28 is wrapping up, and I’m never going to eat a chicken nugget again.  Why?  Because of the relentless drive toward getting “novel protein” (insects and cultured meat) into the food supply.

This year’s climate summit was the first to extensively address food production.  There was a Food Systems Pavilion with eight thematic days, and one of those days was exclusively about how to “Advance Protein Diversification.”

In other words, how to get people to eat stuff they don’t want to.

The publishing industry is getting into this, too. You can find dozens of books that have been recently brought to market, earnestly promoting insects as food to save the planet. These are not to be outdone by books swearing that lab-grown meat will revolutionize food.

They discussed how to “push” consumers toward novel protein.

Discussions highlighted innovations in Israel, Brazil, Singapore, Denmark, and the Netherlands, all countries that have pioneered research in either insect farming or cultured meat.  The folks at the climate summit discussed “how we can push others toward the tipping point in protein diversification.”

One discussion focused on circular agrifood and biomass.  “Circular agrifood” sounds high-tech but really boils down to waste processing.  For example, a farm may be perfectly circular if livestock exclusively consumes vegetation on the farm, their poop is spread around the pastures, they get processed on-farm, and the waste materials are buried, fed to dogs, or otherwise kept on the property.  Two hundred years ago, most farms were “circular agrifood systems.”

So, are they promoting the traditional closed-loop, locally-owned, independently operated farms?

Not quite.  This discussion was chaired by an expert in waste management and a representative of an innovative food processing company, not managers of closed-loop farms.

In fact, if you live in a wealthy country, these people may see your local farmer as the problem, not the solution.  Speakers at COP28 summits blame overconsumption in wealthy countries for food instability in poorer ones.

This is a gross simplification of an incredibly complex set of problems.

Overconsumption of food isn’t just a “rich people problem.” It’s the opposite.

For starters, overconsumption of food is not necessarily related to overall wealth.  You don’t see overweight people walking around elite enclaves like Malibu or Aspen. They’re in the poorer parts of major cities, and throughout rural America.

I spent much of my childhood in a low-income household.  People at the bottom of the socioeconomic food chain are not overconsuming pastured steaks and Kerrygold butter. They’re overconsuming the stuff their SNAP benefits pay for at Dollar Tree, foods like Doritos and Mountain Dew.  These foods are artificially cheap because they are made of processed corn, which is heavily subsidized by the government.

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is aware of this. He was less militant about eliminating meat from American diets than his European counterparts.  His talks during “Food Day” emphasized less food wastage rather than eliminating meat and dairy.  However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) insists that affluent Westerners need to reduce meat and dairy consumption by 35-50% to achieve climate goals.

Climate change is being blamed for food shortages in developing countries.  However, you cannot ignore the role distribution problems play.  These might be related to war or to internal problems such as corruption. They are not necessarily affected by the actions of wealthier countries.

Solving the problem of low-income, overweight Americans would involve massive cultural changes.  It would involve fixing the subsidy system that makes junk food so cheap.  It would involve a huge push to re-introduce home economics classes, empowering people to prepare their own food.  And it would involve a change in cultural expectations. When working multiple part-time jobs is the norm, it’s really hard to find time to prepare healthy meals.

Food scarcity in developing countries isn’t because of “rich Westerners,” either.

Solving the problem of food scarcity in less developed countries is no small feat either. It would involve better infrastructure, such as roads and refrigeration facilities.  It would also require accountability at the local level in terms of ensuring corrupt officials do not keep donated goods for themselves.

All of these solutions involve increasing local control and self-empowerment for individuals to make better decisions for themselves.

So, is that what the food giants and the attendees of summits like COP28 are working toward?

These summits promote consolidation and processed foods.

No, they’re going to keep moving toward consolidating food companies and putting more highly processed junk food on the market.

The “Big Four” meatpackers (JBS, Cargill, Tyson, and National Beef Packing) control more than 80% of the market.  Of these four, JBS, Cargill, and Tyson have invested in cultured (lab-grown) meat.

They are beginning to see themselves as in the protein business rather than the meat business. Also, it doesn’t hurt that investing in alternative proteins helps companies’ ESG scores.

They are not just investing in cultured meat. Cargill and Tyson have also been investing in insect production.

In 2022, Cargill partnered with Innovafeed, an insect meal producer.  They feed livestock waste to black soldier flies, which then are in turn fed to farmed fish, chicks, and piglets.

Now Tyson’s getting in on the game.  In October, Tyson purchased a minority stake in Dutch insect farming company Protix.  They plan to build a black soldier fly facility in the US for use in pet foods and livestock feed.  Tyson says they do not plan to add insects to human food “at this time.”

Fish, chicks, and piglets do naturally consume insects.  But I still think this drive toward partnerships between giants in the traditional livestock industry and insect producers is worth our attention.

In a previous article about eating bugs, I referenced studies finding that putting the infrastructure in place for insect protein production is not as climate-neutral as it pretends to be.  Constructing the facilities required for a substantial amount of protein production would require a significant amount of space and energy.  A whole new infrastructure would need to be built, and in a more freely functioning market, investors would need to see demand before making those kinds of commitments.

As we noted in another previous article, the demand for novel proteins has not been developing organically, and a huge infrastructure for conventional meat processing already exists.  Consumers are not choosing novel proteins. They’re being pushed on us by people who seem religiously convinced that eating insects is good for the planet.

Tyson may not be planning to put insect meal into their meat products “at this time,” but they’re investing in the infrastructure that could make that happen when they think the time is right.  With all the talk about how good eating insects is for the environment, it’s reasonable to assume that companies will start looking at how to incorporate insect protein into their food products.

How to really improve the agricultural system

There are absolutely ways in which the agricultural system could improve.  But the real solutions lie in working toward fewer middlemen.  This would make locally produced food more affordable, wherever “local” is for you, and more profitable for the farmers.  Customers need more transparency to make better dietary choices, and building connections with local farmers and custom processors is a great way to achieve that.

I have eaten crickets that still look like crickets. I am not interested in processed foods with hidden ingredients.  As the food giants move toward novel proteins, it will be more important than ever to know where your meat comes from.  Unless, of course, insect nuggets sound delicious to you.

What are your thoughts, though? If you could save money, would you eat lab-grown meat or insects? Do you think this type of “food” production is good for the planet? Are you interested in trying these products?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

About Marie Hawthorne

A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.

Marie Hawthorne

Marie Hawthorne

A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.

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  • I am not the tiniest bit interested in eating any kind of insect or worm-ever! Human GI systems are not equipped to digest the hard exoskeletons of things like crickets and worms are just gross. Watch GI issues skyrocket if insects become a major part of anyones diet!
    Lab grown meat is full of issues and also nasty. No healthy alternative here. The idea is to eliminate the very idea of self sufficiency. Not eating this garbage either!
    These big corps are not interested in whats healthy, they only care about profits and ESG scores. This is part of the NWO agenda. I say lets see those various folks who parrot the “eat this or that agenda” lead by example. Let them be the first to give up meat for bugs! I would like to also see them follow their damn green agenda by giving up their private jets/yachts and fancy limos.
    Never happen. Its truly a- do as I say not as I do mentality. Seems sorta like slavery eh?!

    • Missouri Patriot> Read my comment. I wrote it and then I saw yours and I do feel we are on the same boat, are seeing out of the same glasses and are on the same page. What you think? OMG, this is forever GROSS!!! Maybe if they implement this 1/2 or 3/4 of us will starve… But you mentioned the NWO, are they not already trying their best to get rid of us? Chemical trails all over the skies pushing out toxins/poisons into the atmosphere and all those Covid injections and boosters and now fake meat and delicious bugs…(just remember to add some BBQ sauce, or maybe some spices, how about some honey or butter, maybe sugar).

  • I am not interested in eating lab-grown meat or insects, even if they were cheaper or even if they were free. Any kind of processing associated with what we put in our bodies is bad news. One of my sons is currently living in eastern Europe and he was surprised at the organic/healthy nature of all the food they offer there. I’m sure he’ll come back to the US in much better health.

  • These initiatives have to be blocked since the very beginning and those companies dismembered or taken to bankruptcy with severe boycotts and massive sues. Otherwise the coming generations will suffer the effects. Only God knows what the long-term consuming of such garbage will have in the human body.
    They want maximize their profits forcing people to eat insects? They don’t deserve to keep in business then, as they are a real risk for public health.

    • The powers that be have determined it is time to reduce the population of the earth. we are overrunning it, or so we are told. we can use math to prove them wrong. without going into the data and formula simple math provides that were we spread out equally about the earth we would have one man for every ten acres. doesn’t sound crowded to me a few data resources I like—globalresearch –wattsupwiththat–realclimatescienc—winteroak—-greentyranny—https://www-physics-uci-edu – used to stop address, replace with . hope you can use the info.———I, Grampa

  • Lab grown meat is NOT vegan, it is cultured in Bovine Fetal Serum. It is energy intensive, and has a larger carbon footprint than raising animals. It is also prohibitively expensive, $20,000 a kilo. They say that producing it ‘to scale’ could reduce this by 90%. One problem is, that growing tissue in a vat, there’s no immune system. ONE bacteria or virus gets into the culture, they reproduce without restraint and the whole batch has to be discarded. The cultures will have to be produced to pharmaceutical grade, rather than food grade.

    Has anyone asked how insects for consumption will be killed? Anything other than electrical will be passed along to humans.

  • Slaves don’t eat as well as their masters. The WEF thinks we’re so stupid, we can be ‘convinced’ to step into chains and beg for crickets. In the 19th century, slaves were an investment, which at least somewhat motivated their masters to treat them reasonably well. Now? Not so much. I can’t even begin to describe the horrific consequences for human health on a chronic diet of insect chitin. But don’t worry, Big Pharma will have a drug for that!

    • What about the poor vegetarian? will they be seen as a threat to the protein producer? directly competing for resources. scary thought!——- I, Grampa

  • First let’s be clear. man will never outproduce nature. I also would like to say that I have eaten roasted grasshopper or locus. it tasted like peanuts. Beside the point is the question of why look for the cheapest food source.

    Insects are prolific, yes, but who has looked at the amount of food they eat in their lifespan? It is all about ratios of input to output. Creating the super insect is scary. Mankind can now genetically modify for an outcome. (desired) and for all the successes, we have failures. Failures that will escape with human error.

    Human error is inevitable. This we have seen in the bio labs from around the world. In modifying anything, choose your direction carefully. As a layperson of science, I look at solving problems differently. I gravitate to methods I use within my trade. I am a Master electrician and part of the job is solving problems. The answers are not always the cheapest or provide the shortest and safest path. I may need to cause more damage to the home than anyone wants.

    The outcome will provide a safe environment, offering many years of dependable service. Likewise, the outcome must provide safe support for the millions to be fed. Science, with all its talent, can never predict the outcome of an experiment. We naturally look at the goals wanted and work backward. the subject is feeding the multitude of available answers, or I should say methods, all unproven to many degrees.

    In today’s science, the answers are sometimes hard-won. If the answers don’t come, change the question. Going back to the basic goal, start out with what you have and change it using the simplest and dependable results.

    Simple results provide answers that have been tried and results continue to be predictable. For simplicity, let’s use the dog, for example. We have learned to breed them to give us the results we want. Large or small, friendly or aggressive is what we have learned to do with an animal to provide our results. So now, using these methods, we need to breed an animal that provides a lot of protein per food and water intake.

    A cow that can survive on grazing for food and is resistant to diseases. Producing the maximum amount of protein for a given acre of land. The ability to use plants that are not useful for anything but grazing. The eating of plants that cost little in the efforts of the farmer and the use of oil or its products.

    A docile animal that eats plants that live from scrubland and uses no fertilizer. So the direction, as I see it is to have one with a better digestive system. Providing more pounds out for the amount of pounds in. I know this sounds hard but why use breeding as a direction?

    The results when unviable fail to survive to pass any alteration to future generations. Using genetics, we cant see the results without testing. Elimination of the byproduct is difficult because we can’t recognize mistakes very quickly. the changes may spread very quickly without detection.

    Changes that now will be in our food chain. Changes that offer a new reaction from humans. What they would be, is unpredictable. Likewise, what guarantee do we have as we use an altered insect to provide protein?

    To summarize, we want protein as cheaply as possible. The research seems to focus on a single source. The insect! Producing protein is one thing, but the process to get it to the table in palatable form is another.

    Each step provides chances of adulteration and the introduction of elements that would harm or even kill thousands. producing protein from insects would require technology. some requiring lots of power consumption. I have not seen this mentioned in the list of pros and cons of production.

    It also requires mechanical means that require parts and construction, as well as maintenance. All requiring oil products that the government now restricts.
    Breed a cow that can live quite well on its own without human intervention that has been bread with favorable attributes that offer more protein with less oil, or oil-altered products.

    We want something that takes as little human involvement as possible. Raise them on land that isn’t used or good for little, so we maximize land use. I now realize my mid-morning slump that comes with age. I find it harder to have the words I want to say, come forth.

    So instead of becoming a complete idiot, I will stop and address this another time. I hope I haven’t been too confusing.—————–I, Grampa

    • “Science, with all its talent, can never predict the outcome of an experiment.”

      Agreed, and it’s even worse because “science” as an informative process has been almost ubiquitously displaced by “science” as an empty term that’s used to justify a result that was preordained by the corporations and government institutions that fund the so-called research.

  • I don’t care for the “push” towards novel proteins in food either. I think there needs to be a widespread information push against it. Thanks for writing this. I understand the “mainstream” media won’t help us here so it will take more people writing things for social media, etc. Podcasts would help a lot because people would be able to “see” what’s really happening.

    • btw, ever wonder exactly WHAT is put in our animals foods? you wouldnt believe it, dont believe the labels either……its no wonder they are getting ill, suffering, and our vet bills are horrendous (course the vets just want the money too).

  • In a word, No.
    Let us see these yahoos lead by example.
    Let them be the first to not only their all lab grown meats but let us see them lead by example of their calls for fossil fuel reduction.
    Read an article the other day, in order to meet their net-zero emissions the average American would have to lower their living standard by 85%.
    I want to see the Mark Zukerburgers, the Bill Gates, John Kerrys, Leo DiCaprios, Taylor Swifts etc. of the world reduce their standard of living down to that of the rest of us they are calling on.
    Everyone lives in a 900sqft home. Limited heating and cooling. Limited internet and streaming to your daily allowance of energy.
    Limited travel. Either in your two seat EV to 50 miles of home or by foot or bicycle. Exceed you EV limit, it gets shut down.
    Or better yet, live in a wall city where everything you need is in a 15 minute walk of your life pod. And you rent that from the government.

    • TOTALLY AGREE! it worries me currently whether we are being fed this crap right now and dont know it!~ as for bugs, well will those bugs be dead bugs killed by chemicals, and then we get to eat them? as for lab grown meats…ugh….I would rather starve than eat this crap!!!! or eating foods that are injected with vaccines, which I understand some already are…wish I knew exactly which ones and the manufacturers. thats the kind of info we need now, who is doing this stuff, which meats are being injected, and so forth. I’m so fed up with nothing being pure, clean, as it was originally made to eat/drink….seems every single thing in our lives now is FAKE in some way. and we are being poisoned every day from air, food, water, etc. now I read where we cant even trust “organic foods” to be pure anymore…they are being poisoned in one way or another….geesh…glad I’m old…wont have to deal with this much longer…..good luck out there…oh remember that movie “soylent green”? watch it if you havent, its disgusting and you wont believe thats where we are today…..

  • One question that’s rarely asked: Are we better off eating something directly or indirectly? It’s very true that worms and many kinds of insects are good sources of protein and other nutrients. It’s also true that birds eat worms and insects. It seems very clear that it is both more desirable and efficient to eat poultry than worms or insects.

    The push to eliminate beef is even crazier. We can’t derive nutrients from most grasses in sufficient quantities; we’re just not designed to graze. Cattle are. And we love eating beef.

  • I am not the least bit interested in eating insects or lab grown meat. The fact that this is the future of food products being pushed is downright scary. I worry about the state of this country and the kind of world we’re leaving for our grandchildren! God please help us!

  • What about items listed in the ingredients as numbers What are they?
    Word has it that ingredient E204 is actually insects. WTH

  • This is NOT exactly what I have been dreaming about…NOT what my current taste buds are salivating for…NOT what will ever please me or make me happy. This will NOT make me want to enjoy any meals at home or even in a restaurant. You would have to convince me that this type of meat and all kinds of lousy bugs have anything whatsoever to do with healthy eating or for that matter climate change. There are other ways to save the earth for goodness sakes. It makes me nauseous just thinking about buying that meat…Please let’s not take this route…Do we/will we have a choice.

  • I love a good steak, ect, but I am not thinking at all about trying to eat something that someone has grow in a lab! I’ll stick to salads, vegetables and things I like, before I eat some slime produced again! I’m not a vegetarian, but it looks better all the time!

  • If they are concerned about protein eat beans. They want to control what you eat. You’ll eat bugs while the elite eat steak and chicken.

  • Uh, no. Not as a choice in “normal” times. A hardcore survival situation is another thing. Bug meal as an additive to feed for critters who eat bugs naturally doesn’t seem unreasonable, but could be taken to unreasonable extremes. As far as me eating lab-grown meat or bugs voluntarily, I’d have to be starving. Fortunately, I chose to live in a place that offers numerous sources of natural protein.

  • “ If you could save money, would you eat lab-grown meat or insects?”
    directly, no. However, I have chickens (egg laying hens) and feeding them dried insects , mostly desiccated meal worms, is like crack candy that they turn into rich eggs.

  • This statement is not directed at most posts here.

    We (as a nation) lost control of our food when we allowed an unconstitutional state sanctioned agency to oversee “wholesomeness” of meat production. Packing and production food safety laws are written by lawyers working for -wait for it- the very packers who are being “inspected” by that agency in charge of enforcement of the laws! The whole system is so incestuous and corrupt, that if it weren’t so scary it’d be hilarious.

    “I never met a government agent that wasn’t for sale” (a quote from Trinity is Still My Name) no longer applies. Agents are now bought, paid for and owned. Lock, stock and barrel.

    So, meat processing, in the holy and coveted names of the trinity of food production (wholesomeness, safety, and traceability) moves on to new and (eventually less expensive) ways to screw over farmers, ranchers and consumers. Bugs and lab grown abominations.

    All because Americans are terrified of..germs…

    Learn to grow, kill, clean, cut, can and cook your own food people.

  • They very definition of “food” is changing before our very eyes. “Food” is now simply something you put into your mouth and chew. Most of it has little or no nutritional value. This makes reading labels even more important. Reading and deciphering ingredients is essential. Things like “Made with genetically-modified ingredients” or “E904” which is shellac from insects or E120 is a red coloring obtained from the cochineal beetle. As a general rule, the less ingredients, the more the nutritional value (however, organic goes a long way in nutrition).

  • We’re expanding our vendors of food sources, heading into town to buy real meat from a local butcher. The Walmart produce section near here isn’t bad for big box fare, but its long term health qualities are suspect.

  • You do understand that chitin, from ground insects, is NOT EDIBLE by humans. In fact, chitin IS NOT DIGESTIBLE !!! How can you write anything about eating bugs and leave that tidbit out?

  • Eh, coming up with new ways to produce food for everybody is not inherently bad; Vitamin-A-infused genetically engineered golden rice—to give just one example—has been an absolute boon to humanity’s health and nutrition. It’s a fair bet that the anti-human vermin attending this Climate Cult conference (who’ve pretty much openly declared that our continuing to breathe is a detriment to the environment) are not the least bit interested in promoting anything that keeps us healthy and well-fed, however. People can get some nutrition out of eating insects, and have (especially in Biblical times and places; see Leviticus 11:20-25), but that should be something one freely chooses to do, not something a bunch of misanthropic totalitarian tyrants impose on us the way these pernicious death cultists desire.

    With lab-grown meat, I say the same thing I say about electric vehicles: more power to your researchers and developers if they can actually produce a working prototype, but so far, the technology doesn’t seem to be ready for prime time. On a personal note, I do some volunteering at a food pantry that receives donations of frozen meat from a local grocery store; and among these donations (of—let us be reminded—stuff that for whatever reason didn’t manage to sell by its sell-by date) are quite often a few packages of vegan Impossible and Beyond Meat products. While we’ve had numerous clients who couldn’t eat certain foods and/or requested rather specific things in their handouts (e.g. “Can I have some more of that salmon? It’s one of the few things my disabled veteran son can eat.”), never in all the years I’ve worked there have we ever had a request for a vegetarian—let alone vegan—handout; I basically have to get rid of these products by slipping them into TEFAP orders (i.e. the standard handout for clients from out of our local distribution area: we aren’t allowed to hand out any of the donated meat to them, only the surplus meat the federal government sends us through its TEFAP distributions; but since Impossible and Beyond Meat products aren’t technically meat, they fit neatly through an obvious loophole in that rule).

    Basically, when even the beggars aren’t choosing your meat substitutes, I’d say they’re not viable products yet.

  • I do not want to be forced to eat anything. By anyone or any organization, government, or NGO.

    However, if things were handled differently, rather than the way they are now, I can see eating some insects, prepared in specific ways. I have eaten three or four types of insects, a couple of them toasted and then dipped in chocolate. Not too bad. They were small insects, ants mostly, and lots of chocolate.

    And I have eaten a couple more during field exercises. No raw bugs or worms. Too dangerous unless an absolute life-and-death situation. The worms were wok-ed in butter to a crispy state and lightly salted. They were okay. I would not want a steady diet of them, but I could, for myself, extend some types of foods with the prepared bugs.

    I want it done to my specifications, not someone else’s who has no intention of eating more than a tiny taste to ‘prove’ how tasty whatever concoction they have come up with happens to be. The current projects pretty much grind and dry. Some may be cooked in some way, but some just dried. The whole thing. I doubt there would be an economical process to de-shell crickets and such. If there was, then cricket flesh could be used. I have roasted them and peel them and the flesh was okay. Hand peeling is not going to cut it for a commercial operation.

    As for ‘lab’ meats, it is pretty much the same. I would not want what they are producing at the moment. If/When they can come up with a way to take a freshly butchered animal and hook it up to a blood circulation system similar to that used during open heart surgery, with the blood going through a process to oxygenate it and add high-grade nutrients in the same form as the living animal would produce.

    Since there is no brain there would be no pain involved in carving off a piece of the meat for consumption. It would regrow and could be reused for quite a while I think, until it needed to be used up and a new starter piece of meat hooked up.

    Overall, however, I would much rather eat the way I did when I was a child. We had two milk cows, therefore two calves every year, one or two hogs, and 20 – 25 egg-producing chickens that were butchered when they reached the end of their egg-producing days. In addition, we fished the nearby river, foraged in the forested areas around our place, and had a huge garden. A wild Black Walnut tree at the edge of the yard and hickory nut trees all through the forested area. Two or three (cannot remember for sure) American Persimmon trees just aways outside the fence. There were wild blackberry brambles out in the fields and a couple of small strawberry patches.

    We also hunted to help fill up the freezer. I got my first rifle, a single-shot .22 rim fire, and was expected to add to the freezer and the table. Rabbits and squirrels, mostly, in season.

    About the only things we bought were the staples. Flour, sugar, yeast, etc.

    Yes, it took an acre or three, plus the forested area and the river, but knowing what I know now, and with the equipment and techniques that have been developed over the last 55 years I could grow enough plant foods to feed five times what the six of us in my family ate.

    What they are doing now, and the way they are doing, nope, I will pass on by and find another method.

    Just my opinion.

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