Plant-Based Meat: Potential to Serve as a Sustainable Substitute to Conventional Meat and Overcoming Market Barriers to Entry

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John Wargo
Essay Abstract: 
The global food system and the sustainability of the environment are uniquely interconnected. Industrial agriculture and the livestock industry greatly exacerbate climate change and deplete natural resources, which in turn threatens the security of the food system. The primary pressure on this system comes from the meat sector. The unsustainable production of meat coupled with rising global meat consumption creates an alarming environmental concern. Because of this, there is an urgent need to reduce meat production and consumption to relieve the system. While vegetarianism and veganism achieve this end, these dietary lifestyles fail to be adopted by a large enough part of the population. Thus, this demands a more widespread shift in consumer consumption patterns. This research explores the potential pathways for plant-based meat to reduce the negative externalities that are associated with agriculture and to alleviate an already strained food system. By looking at the current status of the plant-based meat market and the political and psychosocial barriers to entry, this research identifies strategies to overcome consumer reluctance to shifting dietary habits that rely on animal-meat. Through looking at these trends, this research provides future directions on how to motivate a transition to a more sustainable diet and guides future developments of meat substitutes.