Advances in modern technology are making our lives much easier, but that’s also costing a lot of people their jobs.
Apparently, that list could soon include the meat industry, as cultured meat meat is expected to become the norm in just a few short years as scientists have developed methods and technology that can bring the production cost of cultured meat down significantly to a price that’s easy to digest for consumers.
However, the industry needs to scale up to make those prices attractive to consumers. That will require large manufacturing facilities that rely heavily on automated machines and systems to overcome the industry’s largest barrier so far.
The food industry is already heavily invested in automated systems, and it shouldn’t take long for this new industry to figure it out.
While this new industry brings with it many advantages — like a softer environmental impact, a more humane way of producing food and a healthier product — it could result in severe impacts to several industries.
Who stands to lose the most from a rise of automation in lab-grown meat?
- Cattle ranchers and chicken farmers. In the U.S., there are about 900,000 cattle ranchers with a combined annual revenue of about $70 billion.
- Livestock feed producers. This industry employs more than 900,000 jobs and accounted for about $300 billion in 2016 sales.
- According to the North American Meat Institute, the industry is responsible for 5.4 million jobs and $257 billion in wages between more than 500,000 workers.
- Refrigerated trucking. Meats need to be transported in cold units, but since lab-grown meat can be processed anywhere, the industry won’t need to rely on transportation as much.
- Leather and rendering. Unused parts of the animal are used to make several products, like pet food, glue and leather. Fewer animals killed means the scarcity of those other nonmeat products.