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Will it be plant-based meat or cellular meat?

Notes by Narsi

I'm sure you would have come across a dozen advertisements in the past month about the new-fangled kind in town - the meat that did not kill any animal.

While it indeed is an exciting development, what many people are not aware of is that there are two types of non-cruelty meat:

One is the plant-based meat, which simply uses purely plant-based ingredients to dish out something that tastes like meat

The other is cellular meat that is biologocally meat - grown from the animal cells - but just that there was no animal grown and killed for this.

Most of the Indian startups operating in this field are plant-based meat, and it is easy to see why - this does not require deep research, it is more mashing plants and veggies up in a given way in given ratios. I'm sure more than the simplistic way I put it, but you get the drift.

For Cell-based meat, on the other hand, you are talking biotech, years of lab research, and also in addition possibly navigating multiple regulatory hurdles. But when it comes out at the end of the day, it is exactly the same meat you have had all along - not a close substitute. The only prominent startup in the cell based meat sector in India is ClearMeat.

So, which of the two will win - a close substitute or the real thing?

For me, it is difficult to say, and much less so for the long term. For the 2022-2030 period, it is highly likely that plant-based meat will dominate at least in India, and if efforts from startups such as ClearMeat are successful, this might start challenging the plant-based meat sector but even that is highly unlikely to happen before 2025.

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