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Breaking down the future of food: Bruce Friedrich on the comprehensive case for innovative alternatives to traditional meat

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Podcast & Video

This episode of Hub Dialogues features host Sean Speer in conversation with Bruce Friedrich, founder and president of the Good Food Institute, about the economic, environmental, and moral case for cell- and plant-based alternatives to traditional meat.

You can listen to this episode of Hub Dialogues on Acast, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Spotify. The episodes are generously supported by The Ira Gluskin And Maxine Granovsky Gluskin Charitable Foundation and The Linda Frum & Howard Sokolowski Charitable Foundation.

SEAN SPEER: Welcome to Hub Dialogues. I’m your host, Sean Speer, editor-at-large at The Hub. I’m honoured to be joined today by Bruce Friedrich, the founder and president of the Good Food Institute, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to a reimagining of meat production and consumption in our society. In this role, he’s a leading voice for food innovation in the name of addressing climate change, reducing the risks of disease, eliminating animal suffering, and ultimately meeting rising global demand. I’m grateful to speak with him about the case for a meatless future, the progress on realizing it, and how he came to dedicate so much of his time and talents to these issues. Bruce, thanks for joining us at Hub Dialogues.

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: I am delighted to be here. Sean, thank you very much for having me.

SEAN SPEER: Let’s start with how you came to these issues. You adopted a vegan diet in the late 1980s after reading a book called The Diet for a Small Planet. What in the book inspired you, and how did you think about your early mission as an activist, including as a PETA employee, to get people to stop killing, eating, and wearing animals?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: That is a super big question. I’ll start with The Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé. Basically, the book makes the point that other animals have to eat. So if we want to eat a chicken, according to the World Resources Institute, we need to feed that chicken nine calories of soy or wheat or corn, or whatever goes into the chicken feed. For cattle, it’s 40 calories in to get one calorie back out. So at that point, I was running an organization on my campus called Poverty Action Now. We were organizing a fast to raise money for Oxfam International. We were volunteering in the local soup kitchen. And just the idea that something required eight times, nine times the calories of something else—and the point that Frances Moore Lappé makes in Diet for a Small Planet is that in a global marketplace, there is a direct relationship between things like feeding and crops to animals so that we can eat animals and global starvation.

More recent numbers have really, I think, put this into stark relief: a little over a decade ago, globally, we were feeding about 750 million metric tons of corn and wheat to chickens and pigs and other farm animals. 10 years later, it was north of a billion metric tons.

The war in Ukraine has displaced 50 million metric tons of wheat and famine is on the front pages of newspapers around the world. In the meantime, globally, we are feeding 20 times that amount of cereals to farm animals, as well as another 270 million metric tons of soy. This just underlines what an incredibly inefficient way this is of making meat. So I started The Good Food Institute about seven years ago, and the focus was essentially: “How do we feed north of 10 billion people by 2050 without burning the planet to a crisis?” Because the climate impact with all that inefficiency is also really quite significant.

SEAN SPEER: I mentioned earlier, Bruce, that your early activism expressed itself in your work with PETA and other organizations, but, as you alluded, you have in recent years come to orient your efforts to the goal of food innovation. What led to this transformation? How did you come to see innovation and progress as the key means to your social ends?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: I mean, the first thing I did out of college was run a homeless shelter and the largest soup kitchen in Washington, D.C. I did that for about six years. And it was Diet for a Small Planet, as well as writing my honours thesis in college on resource economics and structural adjustment programs, that really put global economic commodities markets firmly into my mind. Then it was looking at per capita meat consumption. Even in North America, the five highest years for per capita meat consumption are the most recent five. If you look globally, there have been 11 peer-reviewed projections about how much meat we’re going to need in 2050. The most conservative number is 61 percent more. One of those 11 peer review articles says more than three times as much meat.

In 2050, you look at something like China, and I think it’s gone up 600 percent in the last 50 years, in terms of meat consumption in China. So looking at: what is something that can allow us to meet that demand without the external costs?

You can look at something like alternative proteins and how that analogizes to renewable energy and electric vehicles. So with renewable energy, there’s a recognition that globally we’re going to produce and consume more and more and more energy through 2050 and beyond. That’s what economic development looks like. With electric vehicles, there’s a recognition that we are going to produce more cars and people are going to drive more miles. With alternative proteins, that analogizes really quite nicely. Obviously, we want to make walkable cities as one of the responses to vehicular climate emissions, and we want to make fewer, more energy-efficient buildings, and all of that. And at the end of the day, the real winning strategy is, “Let’s make energy without the climate impact. Let’s make cars without the climate impact.”

And here, just to beg to add a little bit of nuance to your introduction, it’s not about a meatless future; it’s about—so renewable energy is energy and electric vehicles are vehicles. If somebody is eating something and it gives them the precise experience of meat, even if it’s made from plants, it’s still meat. And even if it’s cultivated meat, which is actual animal meat, but you take a small sample of cells from an animal and you grow those cells in essentially a factory, so you cultivate the cells directly, that’s still meat. But it requires about a 10th of land or a 20th of the land for plant-based meat relative to beef. It causes 90 percent fewer direct emissions and has a lot of other benefits as well. And from the consumer standpoint, because it’s so much more efficient, we should be able to create meat from plants and cultivate meat from cells that actually cost less. So you’re giving consumers everything that they like about meat—taste, price, convenience, everything else—but at a lower cost. This is the same concept as renewable energy. It’s the same concept as electric vehicles.

SEAN SPEER: Great answer and thank you for the correction in my terminology. I just want to follow up on the point about projections for growing meat consumption in the coming decades. What is ultimately driving that? Is it costs, tastes, the power of social norms, population growth, or some combination of above? Help to paint a picture of what’s behind the growing demand for meat all over the world.

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: Yeah, I mean, it appears to be the case that, fairly inexorably, populations that become more affluent eat more meat. So if you look at all of these 11 peer reviewed projections, they basically track with economic growth. So China has a 600 percent increase of its meat consumption as it has economically developed and moved from being a developing economy to a developed economy, or pretty close. And there just is this inexorable relationship where, up to a point, economic growth is associated with increased per capita meat consumption. So as we grow to 10 billion people and pretty much all of the populations across those 10 billion people are eating more meat per capita, you have both individuals eating more meat and a lot more people, and what that ends up meaning is a lot more consumption of energy, a lot more miles driven, and a lot more meat consumed.

But just like we can transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles, we can also make that meat in a way that doesn’t have nearly the same level of external costs. And it also ends up being really great for the economy. So the U.K. Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office did a report where they commissioned McKinsey, and they did a report, and they said by 2050, the global economy could add $1.1 trillion in value just from the alternative proteins market. So alternative proteins could add $1.1 trillion to the global economy, create 9.8 million new jobs. And this economic growth and these jobs will accrue to really the governments that prioritize these industries. So just like governments incentivize and help their traditional agricultural industries, governments can also do the same thing with alternative proteins. And interestingly, Canada is really leading on this, which is pretty exciting.

SEAN SPEER: Bruce, we’ll come to some of these issues concerning the science and the progress and even the role for public policy in a minute. But if it’s okay with you, I just want to return to your personal story for one more question. As I understand, you converted to Catholicism while working in the shelter as a young man. How has your faith influenced your work on these issues?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: You did do your research, Sean. That is not a question that I get a lot, but my faith is integrally linked to every aspect of how I have lived my life for all of my life. So taking very, very seriously the idea that everybody on the planet is your neighbour. So when you think about something like hundreds of millions of people, I think the latest statistic we were down to I think maybe 650 million people living in dire poverty. COVID tacked another hundred million people onto that statistic. So you think about—and COVID also set back global poverty eradication efforts by a decade. So for me, the idea of taking my faith seriously isn’t about evangelizing anyone but it is about leading a life that’s focused on service and making the world better.

So with hundreds of millions of people living in dire poverty, the earth being on loan to us as a human species, and the spoilage being, I think, not just unethical but a violation of religious principles, whether that’s me, Catholic, Christian, but it’s also a violation of Islamic principles and Jewish principles, and Hindu principles. So there’s a lot that’s wrong with the way that we produce food today. And this is an area where I think we can make a massive positive difference in terms of global poverty, in terms of environmental sustainability, in terms of global health. And it’s my faith that has caused me to want to dedicate my vocational life to trying to make the world better, making the earth a more habitable planet.

SEAN SPEER: That’s certainly a compelling vision. If I can slip in one follow-up question, how has it influenced the way you think about our society’s treatment of animals? There’s a pretty compelling line of thinking in Christian social thought that there’s something incompatible with the way our society treats animals and the story of Genesis, for instance. Is that something that resonates with you and the work that you are doing?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: Yeah, I mean, I worked full-time in animal protection for, gosh, well north of a decade. And the reason for that is I read a book called Christianity and the Rights of Animals by an Anglican theologian, also an Anglican priest, named Andrew Linzey, who teaches religion at Oxford. His argument was basically that other animals are made of flesh and blood and bone, just like human beings are. They share with us the exact same five physiological senses. And that what happens to them on especially industrial animal farms is really—God designs them to lead their lives, and they’re denied all those things. God designed them with a capacity to feel pain, and the level of pain that’s inflicted on them is really quite extreme.

So, especially for people who are concerned about animal protection right now, it’s tens of billions of animals in industrial farms. By 2050, it’s going to be double that number of individuals, all of whom are beloved by God. And alternative proteins in the same way that it can slash external costs, drug use, and everything else, it also just removes animals from industrialized systems. And it also frees up resources such that folks who are treating animals well don’t have the land pressures and the economic pressures to confine animals and cages for their entire lives or treat them as inanimate units in the economy. Folks who are taking seriously environmental sustainability, regenerative ranchers who generally are also taking animal welfare into account, those folks end up with less pressure toward lowest common denominators. So it ends up being really win-win all around.

SEAN SPEER: You’ve written and argued elsewhere that progress on these issues requires more than just public education. It depends on delivering affordable, quality alternatives to consumers. Is the point that for most of us, self-interest trumps values, or is it that most people want to express their values and their consumption patterns but that it can be costly and complicated to do so? What’s the Good Food Institute’s theory of change?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: What is clearly true is that the most important things when somebody is deciding what to eat globally across human populations, people ask: “Is it delicious, and is it affordable?” And if something is not palatable, if something doesn’t taste really good, and if it’s outside the reach of economic affordability, the vast majority of people are not going to buy and eat it. So I think ethics figure in, but at the end of the day, the way that something breaks out of niche is if it’s affordable and delicious. Bill Gates refers to this in the context of renewable energy and electric vehicles as the “green premium.” He says the vast majority of people are just too busy to spend a lot of time incorporating climate change into their purchasing decisions, whether that’s energy or cars, or anything else.

So we need to figure out ways to take the benefits of lower climate emissions and turn them to economic advantage. That works super well with plant-based and cultivated meat. The alternative ways of making meat are so much more efficient that, as they scale up, they should also be cost-competitive. So you end up with something that competes in terms of price, competes in terms of taste, and that’s the point at which education becomes really, really powerful and helpful. But education, before you have something that people are enthusiastic to choose instead, is still valuable. Similarly, lots of people will ride bikes and walk rather than driving but most people won’t. And so if you really want to shift people off of fossil fuels, you need renewable energy. If you really want to shift people off of gas-powered cars, you need electric vehicles. Education is great up to a point, but it’s particularly impactful if you have something that people can choose without significant sacrifice.

SEAN SPEER: Can we talk a bit about the most promising sources of plant and cell-based alternatives? What are some of their benefits for individuals and a society as a whole?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: Yeah, I mean, the economic benefit, especially for a country like Canada, I think is critically important. So jobs in the heartland, jobs in the prairies—there’s an outfit called Protein Industries Canada that has gotten, I think, north of $350 million in government funding. And the idea is that Canada recognizes that things like chickpeas and yellow peas, and canola, these can be a significant input for farmers. A lot of revenue there. And then also building factories—a lot of manufacturing capacity, especially in the prairies but also across Canada. Similarly, Canada has world-class universities that can be doing science in this space. So my organization, the Good Food Institute, has funded research at the University of Toronto, the University of Manitoba, at Guelph, and world-class scientific institutions.

So those are some of the advantages. And then there are also really huge global health advantages. Alternative proteins don’t require antibiotics. Right now, more than 70 percent of antibiotics that are produced by the pharmaceutical industry are fed to farm animals. It’s creating antibiotic resistance. The U.K. government has said this is a more certain risk to humanity than climate change. Killing about 1.3 million people a year right now, expected to be killing north of 10 million people per year by 2050. And a big contributor to antibiotic resistance is the fact that all of these medically relevant antibiotics are being fed to chickens and pigs, and cattle not because the animals are sick but to cause them to grow more quickly or keep them alive in conditions that are pretty squalid.

Another huge global health advantage has to do with pandemic risk. So the International Livestock Research Institute and the UN Environment Programme pulled together 13 of the leading zoonotic disease specialists in the world. They released a report in July 2020 called “Preventing the Next Pandemic.” They listed the seven most likely causes of the next pandemic. The first one is going from tens of billions of animals to double that. The first one is increased meat consumption, and every single animal is a potential vector for the next COVID 2023 or COVID 2027, or whatever.

And then the second one is industrial animal farming, both because we are creating genetic clone animals and then we’re putting them into those squalid conditions that are basically disease-breathing factories. So in addition to requiring far less land, in addition to causing far less direct emissions, in addition to massive economic benefits, you also, with alternative proteins, take the likelihood of meat leading to antibiotic resistance from huge to zero, and also take the likelihood of meat causing the next pandemic—I mean, you literally eliminate two of what scientists say are the top seven most likely causes, literally just go away with alternative proteins. So there are a lot of global health benefits, in addition to environmental and animal welfare benefits to shifting in this direction.

SEAN SPEER: At this stage, what are the main impediments to scalability? Is it government policy, consumer knowledge and habits, or is it a technology problem?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: It’s definitely a technology problem. I mean, the reality is that the plant-based products largely don’t taste good enough yet. And well, they largely don’t taste good enough, and they all cost too much. And on the cultivated meat side, I mean, we’re really pre-market. You can buy cultivated meat in Singapore, but that’s the only place in the world at the moment. So it’s a little bit like, “What’s the problem with renewable energy scale?” or “What’s the problem of electric vehicles scale, maybe five or 10 years ago?” I mean, the hypothesis around plant-based meat is that meat is made up of lipids, aminos, minerals, and water. That’s literally 100 percent of what meat is. Plants also have lipids, aminos, minerals, and water.

So if you go from something that requires nine to 40 times the inputs of something else to something that just requires the 1X relative to the nine to 40X and scale it up, it should be able to cost less. But we do have millions of years of animals being animals, and figuring out how to replicate the precise taste, texture, everything else is hard. And then going from vanishingly little market penetration to significant market penetration, also that will allow the cost to plummet, but it’s going to take a little bit of time.

GFI is fundamentally a scientific research think tank. We have about 185 full-time staff around the world. We operate in six countries, so in the U.S. as well as India, Israel, Brazil, Asia Pacific out of Singapore, and Europe, out of both Brussels and London. And it’s a scientific endeavour. So we’re doing lots of scientific community building to let tissue engineers and plant biologists and mechanical engineers, and biotech scientists to let folks know that this is a really great vocational pursuit that will allow them to do a ton of good in the world. And then our global battle cry, further to your government’s question, our global battle cry is that other governments should be following Canada’s lead recognizing the value to their economies of alternative proteins and funding the science, and incentivizing private sector activity. And then the third leg of our programmatic stool is corporate engagement. We work with everything with entrepreneurs who don’t even know what startup they want to start yet to help them figure that out. We have both a scientific community and an industry corporate-focused community. We work with investors, and then we also work with the really big food and meat companies.

So we work with JBS, the largest meat company in the world, Tyson, Cargill, ADM, Nestle. We see all of them as part of the solution. And so working with them both because they know what consumers want from meat, they have massive distribution chains, and their overall business thesis does not require that meat be made the way that it’s made now. They want to sell high-quality protein as profitably as possible. Our pitch to them is this will be even more profitable, and you should lean in and be a part of be a part of this shift.

SEAN SPEER: You co-authored an op-ed for the CNN site in September 2021, in which you argued that the world cannot meet its climate goals without scaling these alternatives to traditional meat. Do you want to elaborate on your argument, Bruce? What’s the link between meat alternatives and our climate goals?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: Yeah, I mean, this is fascinating, and it’s really more an observation than an argument. There is a scientific consensus. The intergovernmental panel on climate change has repeatedly said that if we don’t decrease the amount of industrial animal meat that people are consuming, the Paris climate of goals—the ambitious one is keep climate change below 1.5 degrees relative to pre-industrial levels; the backup plan is 2.0; and the scientific consensus is that we are not going to meet that unless industrial animal product consumption goes down. Nobody has a theory for how that happens other than alternative proteins, unless we think that population-level dietary change is possible. Our hypothesis is that even in the U.S., where people are more aware of these issues than anybody else in the history of the world, the five most recent years are the five highest years, not just for overall meat consumption but even for per capita meat consumption.

So education is important, but we also need to give people what they like about meat without those external costs. Plant-based meat requires a 20th of the land, which also has sequestration benefits and also benefits for regenerative ranchers and small-holder farms, and causes 90 percent less direct emissions. Even for chicken and pork, both the land use needs and the cuts in direct emissions are significant as you shift to alternative proteins. So it’s not really a hard connect the dots to say consumption needs to go down or climate goals are out of reach, and alternative proteins is the one thing that seems likely to work. So then our pitch is to governments: as you are funding renewable energy, as you are funding a shift toward electrification of everything, including vehicles, alternative proteins, both research and development at universities, as well as private sector incentives. The sorts of things that in the United States were in the big climate bill that we passed last year, we need those sorts of incentives for alternative proteins as well.

SEAN SPEER: Yeah, well said. I’d just say in parentheses for listeners that they ought to read Bruce’s article. It struck me that there’s so much policy conversation in Canada these days about the need for an energy transition, but not a proportionate conversation about the need for transitions with respect to meat consumption. But if you read the data in Bruce’s article, you may be led to the conclusion that we need the same level of urgency and ambition. In other words, I suppose if we only pursue a transition on one but not the other, it means we’ll remain distant from our ultimate climate goals.

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: Yeah, I mean, what the science indicates is that of direct emissions, about 20 percent of direct emissions are directly attributable to animal agriculture. That is as high as all forms of transportation combined. So that is as high as air travel, every truck, every car on the face of the planet, and animal agriculture causes just as much emissions as all of that. What that means is that a shift away from animal agriculture toward alternative proteins is a way bigger piece of the climate mitigation solution, certainly than electric cars, and parallels the renewable energy shift. But it has some pretty big tractability advantages. There’s permitting for renewable energy and projects are really hard because renewable energy requires 10 times the land relative to fossil fuels. The shift to electric vehicles requires cobalt from the Congo, lithium from Uyghur areas of China, nickel from Ukraine.

We have the opposite of those issues. There are no hard-to-find ingredients, and land use needs are less rather than more. So this is a huge opportunity to help us meet climate objectives and governments, and the climate community at large should really be leaning in on it.

SEAN SPEER: Throughout this conversation, Bruce, you’ve made compelling and persuasive utilitarian arguments in favour of moving this direction, but I’ve sensed that you’ve, to a certain extent, subordinated more values-based arguments. May I ask why? What are the limits in your view of normative appeals?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: Well, we’re certainly not averse to normative appeals, but at the end of the day, what really needs to happen? What worked for renewable energy and electric vehicles was government support that lifted the entire sectors. So if you read the history of how solar has shot down the cost curve way quicker than anybody expected, it was basically innovation in the U.S., innovation in Germany, innovation in Japan, innovation in China. There’s a similar story to be told about something like EV battery production for electric vehicles and electric vehicles at large. Tesla would’ve failed if not for government-guaranteed loans.

So when we’re thinking about what needs to happen for alternative proteins to succeed, what needs to happen is governments need to get behind the transition. Governments will fund science and private sector activity in order to meet climate objectives, in order to prevent the next pandemic or keep antibiotics working, to some degree, maybe for biodiversity preservation. Absolutely, to get a share of those 9.8 million jobs and that $1.1 trillion in economic activity that the U.K. Foreign Commonwealth and Development says this sector could create by 2050.

Protein Industries Canada has said by 2035 we could be looking at a $250 billion industry, and Canada could grab 10 percent of it. So for Canada, we’re looking at $25 billion, tens of thousands of additional jobs. That is the conversation that governments are interested in having. So that’s the conversation that we generally focus on because we need to create a scientific ecosystem; we need industry to take this seriously. But at the end of the day, we need governments to support this. And the governments that do support it will be the governments that win and whose economies profit. That tends to be our framing for precisely that reason.

SEAN SPEER: We’ll come to the role for public policy in one minute. But before we get there, let me ask you about how to manage this global transition that you’re outlining. You observe in various op-ed articles and other commentaries that global meat demand is poised to grow markedly in the coming years, namely from the developing world. If developed countries pursue this agenda to scale plant and cell-based alternatives to traditional meat, how can they do it in a way that doesn’t harm those in the developing world?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: I mean, this is a boon for developing economies. So, I mean, as we were talking about earlier, something like 650 million people in developing economies are living in nutritional deficits. Actually, that was the pre-COVID number. So now it’s something like 800 million people. And a big part of that is the inefficiency of growing crops to feed them to animals so that people in the West can eat animals. The former global envoy on food to the United Nations he has referred to biofuel production as a human rights crime. His argument was that we’re taking basically cropland and crops that could feed human beings. We’re turning it into fuel, and that is driving up the price of crops for people in developing economies who have, in many cases, nothing to eat at all.

If you look at the amount of crops that go into biofuels and you compare that to the 1.27 billion metric tons of crops that are fed to farm animals, it’s a small fraction. At the time he made that comment, it was literally 10-1. So the amount of crops fed to farm animals was 10 times greater than the amount turned into biofuels. We live in a global economy. This was the thing that you referred to in The Diet for Small Planet argument: that in a global economy, if we are putting nine calories into a chicken to get one calorie back out or 40 calories into a cow to get one calorie back out, those are crops that could otherwise have been feeding people in developing economies.

And then the last thing to say is land pressures, which I mentioned earlier as well. You think about pastoralists in developing economies; you think about agricultural needs in developing economies. To the degree that developing economies are turned into basically neo-colonial states where massive corporations are going in and growing crops that they then ship to developed economies to be fed to farm animals, that makes it a lot harder for smallholder farms. It makes it a lot harder for pastoralists. The same sort of argument would also apply to commercial fishing and subsistence fishing communities. So shifting to making meat and seafood using plants or cultivation is a huge boon to people in developing economies, especially people who are in developing economies and rely on animal products to survive.

SEAN SPEER: What needs to happen at the level of public policy to realize this vision of scaling plant- and cell-based alternatives to traditional meat? Is it about investing in science? Is it about de-risking private investment? What does a public policy mix look like for a country like Canada to become a global leader in the growing global market that you outlined earlier?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: The Canadian government is one that would be worth other governments emulating. The Canadian government with, especially what’s happening with Protein Industries Canada. I think they’re based out of Manitoba, but basically doing pulses farming in the prairies and also manufacturing focuses in the prairies. Other governments would really do well to follow Canada’s lead.

And we are seeing that. The U.S. is getting more and more invested. We’ve seen multiple pieces of really promising legislation as well as some great stuff from Joe Biden on bioeconomy and manufacturing focus that includes alternative proteins. We’re seeing it in Europe. The countries that are really leading because of food security issues are Singapore and Israel.

But yes, it’s one, we need a lot more R&D. So we need governments to be funding scientific centres and governments to be issuing calls for proposals in alternative proteins to their scientific institutions to incentivize people who are plant-crop scientists or tissue engineers, or mechanical engineers to think about applying their talents to this. Then, yes, we need things like guaranteed loans to help get past manufacturing hurdles that are not particularly aligned with the goals of venture capital in particular.

So it really is a positive story. It’s not about penalizing incumbent industry. It’s not about taking anything away from anyone. It’s not about getting rid of any of the current subsidies as they exist; it’s about incentivizing this other industry, and in particular, incentivizing R&D in both the public sector and private sector and incentivizing private sector manufacturing and infrastructure scale-up.

SEAN SPEER: A final question: Are you ultimately optimistic, Bruce?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: I’m incredibly optimistic, Sean. I am incredibly optimistic. I mean, two and a half, three years ago, this was not on the agenda of governments at all. Now, in the U.S., which is the biggest funder of climate science, the Office of Science and Technology Policy is coordinating across the Commerce Department of Energy, USDA, National Science Foundation, really looking at what the U.S. strategy is going to be here. We’ve seen similar movement in Europe, in Brazil, in India, in Israel. Governments are recognizing this. India sees this as a part of the solution to malnutrition. Singapore and Israel see it as a part of the solution to food security issues into the future. Europe is leaning in as a solution to antibiotic resistance, climate change, biodiversity loss. Things like the U.K. government recognizing the economic value here and then putting that economic value onto the agenda of other governments.

I think things are moving in the right direction. It is still going to be difficult. We have never in the history of the world had a plant-based meat product that competed on both the price and taste. We’ve also obviously never had a cultivated meat product that was anywhere near competing on price. It competes on taste but not price. But things are trending in the right direction. I’m optimistic.

I think the incentive structure is really, really good. So when you have something that’s both a climate and global health solution and also has tremendous economic benefits, that feels like a winning combination. But it’s not self-actualizing. We are going to have to continue to push.

SEAN SPEER: Well, the extent to which there has been progress in recent years, a major source of that is the Good Food Institute. Bruce Friedrich, thank you so much for joining us at Hub Dialogues.

BRUCE FRIEDRICH: Thanks so much, Sean. It’s my pleasure. I appreciate the invitation.

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