The global population will skyrocket to almost 10 billion by 2050, while demand for protein is projected to as much as double during this period. At the same time, agricultural resources like water and soil are finite, and whether for raising animals or plants, traditional forms of farming and livestock production are wreaking more and more havoc on the planet.
This situation has led many food businesses to examine every possible method and ingredient to find new ways to produce protein cheaply, in large quantities, and with a low environmental footprint. One such resource emerging from these efforts is air protein — that is, edible protein made from combining genetically engineered microbes with carbon dioxide and electricity.
As we push our planet to its production limits and grow short on resources like arable land and fresh water, we’ll need to create sustainable protein sources to feed the planet. Air protein, though still in its early stages of development, has the potential to radically upend the white-hot alternative protein market while reducing strain on our ecosystem. The next few years will be critical to determining if air protein can, in fact, deliver on its promise to make tasty, infinitely scalable protein that’s cost competitive with soy or pea protein and also appeals to consumers. If so, it could be the next generation of protein we’ve been searching for.
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