With beef sales falling, can the home of Angus reinvent the protein industry?

With beef sales falling, can the home of Angus reinvent the protein industry?

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[Music] scotland a country famous for its history beautiful landscape golf whiskey and of course food amongst the nation's culinary delights its beef has global recognition scottish cattle breeds are famous and have been adopted and bred all around the world they've even inspired restaurant chains from london to california but unfortunately for the scottish meat industry global beef and veal consumption is trending downwards even as demand for meat grows in developing
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economies one likely contributing factor is how terrible it is for the planet in fact when it comes to food beef is one of the biggest offenders this chart shows how much greenhouse gas is emitted per kilogram by different foods across the supply chain nuts and citrus fruits emit the least emissions while eggs and fish have a comparatively moderate level of emissions but the largest emissions of greenhouse gases particularly methane comes from lamb and beef here in scotland cows are big business but they're also a big problem
01:04
for the environment so could our carbon intensive aberdeen angus one day be off the menu and if so what's going to be on our plates instead [Music] these cows will probably all stand up and run through that gate the minute we go in but we'll see how we get on how many are in this field about 20. so there's 25 in here yeah uh these are all cows and so they've all had calves before they're all in calf again so they'll have their calves next spring kate rowell is chair of quality meets
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scotland a body set up to support the scottish red meat sector and improve its efficiency and profitability while maximising its contribution to scotland's economy she's also a cattle farmer i'm a farmer here in the scottish borders sixth generation farmer on this fantastic farm here and as primary producers of the the raw materials farmers are really there to help grow the food and drink economy and to contribute to that increase in the scottish domestic income
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so how important is scottish beef to the scottish economy 70 of the cows in scotland are beef cows and only 30 are dairy cows this is the highest ratio of beef to dairy cows in europe the cattle sector alone accounts for about a quarter of scotland's agricultural output worth about 849 million pounds scotland's red meat processing industry supports 3 000 jobs and 77 million pounds in salaries sales of red meat help contribute to all sorts of things in the rural economy so it's not just
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the farmers are producing them it's all the other businesses that are associated the feed merchants the vets the auctioneers the hollyers all those sort of people depend on the red meat sector in scotland and in the uk it is such an enormous part of the the rural economy throughout the country when you look at climate change is it something that your industry thinks about how you're going to reduce your your carbon footprint yeah absolutely that is all the talk there is just now the biggest challenge for all of us is the weather it is the
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climate and as as farms on the ground we're absolutely aware on a very intimate level that there is a climate emergency you know every farmer is seeing the differences in what's happening on the ground things like the soil possibly in the past we haven't paid as much attention to it as we should and there is evidence that soils across the world are getting degraded so we need to pay really close attention we need to measure we need to take samples and see what's in the soil what needs to be added and if we can do all those
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things and make the soil as healthy as possible it's going to store as much carbon as possible the earth's soil removes about a quarter of the world's fossil fuel emissions every year it's estimated to store more than three times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and four times the amount stored in plants and animals and while soil can be great for storing carbon it often lacks the capability and suitability for growing crops that's due to a number of factors including steep terrain and adverse climate or the lack of freshwater irrigation so often the chat
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is to grow more vegetables grow more grains in these fields here we can't do that the quality of the ground is not enough to do that so what we can do is we can grow grass and that's the same for over 80 of the farms in scotland and obviously as people as humans we can eat that we can do nothing with it but these amazing animals out here the sheep and the cattle can eat that grass and then turn it into a food source for us and that's really the sustainable part of scottish farming true environmental sustainability
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however also has to take into consideration the sector's impact on climate change 50 miles away in glasgow a food company called enough is attempting to tackle feeding a growing population while also providing a solution to the unsustainable impact of soul reliance on traditional protein farming the process starts from here so there is water glucose and some other salts and minerals so this is the fermenter it goes through heat treatment and then it goes through the decanter centrifuge
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here the solids are separated from the liquid the solids is what we take from under the decanter and that's our abandoned microprotein we make what we believe is the most sustainable source of food protein it's mycoprotein which is using fungi adding a glucose feedstock so any fermentable sugar and that grows the fungal into a whole biomass and as long as you give it all of its food sources so a carbon nitrogen oxygenation it grows very happily and it grows on a continuous
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basis enough is one of the first synthetic protein companies born out of the increasing global demand for animal based protein in 2020 human beings ate 574 million metric tons worth of meat seafood dairy and eggs that's roughly 75 kilograms per person and the amount of protein being consumed is only set to grow particularly in developing markets this rising demand coupled with the environmental costs of producing all these animals has helped the alternative protein market move into the mainstream
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around 13 million metric tons of alternative proteins were eaten in 2020 just 2 of the animal protein market but according to the boston consulting group consumption is set to increase seven times to 97 million metric tons by 2035. the protein transition or the protein crisis that we're facing has only emerged in the last five years so we need to do it without the negative aspects of intensive animal farming and with a high quality product that tastes delicious and meets consumers needs but
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does it taste delicious the beauty of it is it's pale in colour right it's very neutral in taste and you can make all sorts of stuff with a track truck feel free to yeah it's all right that's quite a big bit there's a big bit you're going full on there um driving straight up you're not getting much taste i think you won't get much taste you will get a bit of fiber and bite the texture is very similar to what you would get with chicken with a little bit of fat a little bit of potato protein to help bind it and a little bit of flavor it gets to a chicken breast in a fairly fairly easy way um and it's got that
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fibrosis of chicken and you can just tell it it tastes like that i wonder if i was doing a taste test whether i could tell the difference and probably not many meat producers have questioned the health benefits of meat imitations such as plant-based burgers critics have campaigned against what they call ultra-processed food listing all the ingredients that go into fake meat but plant-based burgers and synthetic burgers are two different things producing synthetic protein is relatively quick the fungi biomass
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doubles in size every six hours and enough are moving into a large-scale production facility which will be able to make five or six cows worth of protein every day in terms of a mints a burger we will add some flavorings again we'll have some oils but it's everyday processing that's really good i like that one i like that one a lot when we talk about the meat industry and a lot of the meat being produced mass scale think of brands like mcdonald's and burger king all over the world selling
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millions and millions of burgers does that make this product the burger product more exciting because it could infiltrate that market space we're competing with the grisly end of the fairly expensive animal so being able to make a product which doesn't have some of the the baggage of the existing product that's where i think the scale ambition is unparalleled do you see sustainable protein as a supplement to traditional meat and other plant-based diets or do you want to replace
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the meat industry we crave making something that tastes as good as the animal and costs are the same or less than an animal and if the choice is i can have the thing that tastes as good but it doesn't kill the planet and doesn't have ethical challenges i think that markets will prevail many people would say we just shouldn't be eating meat at all because of those emissions what would be your argument against that so you're absolutely right nobody is trying to deny that cattle and sheep do produce methane but also the one thing
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that we haven't touched on yet is by diversity and you've got to look at those two things in sync up on the hills you really need grazing animals to help with the natural ecosystem down here you can see we've got woods we've got hedges farmers as a whole are certainly on the journey to try and make sure that they're addressing that crisis alongside the climate crisis we can't focus too much on one and not the other or else we're going to end up with unintended consequences synthetic protein joins the new wave of advanced farming methods and
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equipment that is needed to meet the world's future food needs if the world is going to eat less meat then other types of food will need to replace it plant-based diets and synthetic protein may fill that void but replacing the jobs and the income that comes from a vast meat industry may be more difficult [Music]

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