Will Slaughter-Free Meat Change the American Way of Eating?


This year, New America celebrates 20 years of creating and incubating the next big ideas that address some of the nation's and the world’s toughest problems. We are thinkers, researchers, problem-solvers, and storytellers, united by our goal to hold our nation to its highest ideals. We recognize the challenges presented by rapid technological and social change, and work to ensure that the solutions made possible by those changes lead to greater opportunity for all. As we reach forward toward the next 20 years of New America, we will strive to be an engine of American renewal, at home and abroad.

Americans have a love affair with meat. Many romanticize the sizzle of a steak, the iron-pink bleed of a medium-rare burger, and the imagined farm they came from.

It’s a love that has come at a cost: an enormous industrialized livestock system rife with animal abuse uses up massive amounts of land and water. It may also be responsible for nearly one-sixth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet, tech-driven start-ups say they can offer a better way. New waves of investment have cell-cultured food companies in an edible space race to see who can get their so-called “cell-based” meat—animal tissue grown in bioreactors instead of live animals—on consumers’ plates first. Advances in molecular science have also fueled a new boom in plant-based meat offerings that look, smell, taste, and even grease and bleed like their fleshy counterparts. And these companies aren't marketing to vegans and vegetarians. You can now get an Impossible Foods burger instead of a beef patty on your Burger King Whopper. Beyond Meat is stocked in the meat section of most U.S. grocery stores.

But can these slaughter-free meat alternatives really become cheap and mainstream enough to replace your traditional chorizo or chicken nugget? Can these biotech creations overcome the uncanny “ick” valley from consumers stuck on ideas that meat should come from farms and not the lab?

Join the New America Fellows Program, Future Tense, and New America NYC for drinks and a conversation about the future foods that may dramatically transform the American way of eating.

Follow the conversation online using #futureofmeat and by following @NAFellows, @FutureTenseNow, and @NewAmericaNYC.

Product samples from Beyond Meat, a popular producer of plant-based meat substitutes, will be available at the reception after the Q&A.


Chase Purdy
, @chasepurdy
2019 National Fellow, New America
Staff Writer, Quartz

Nicole Taylor, @foodculturist
Author, The Up South Cookbook

Meera Zassenhaus, @meerazassenhaus
Engagement Associate, New Harvest


Helena Bottemiller Evich
, @hbottemiller
Senior Food and Agriculture Reporter, Politico

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