The COVID-19 pandemic has been a watershed for the meat industry.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that the pandemic will cause meat consumption to drop three percent this year to the lowest it's been in nearly a decade.
Taking the place of conventional meat processing and sales are meat alternatives.
"I'm hesitant to buy meat these days. I saw this plant-based meat and I look forward to trying it out."
In a report released Tuesday, analysts forecast the value of the global market for meat alternatives to grow by an annual average of 9.5 percent through 2025 to a value of around 18 billion U.S. dollars.
“Once considered expensive and hard to find, alternative meat can now be found in most general marts. They are also much more affordable. For example, this product retails for just 7 U.S. dollars.”
The first Korean company to launch meat subsitutes at supermarkets, Viomix, says they contribute to a healthier diet.
"Ingredients can be added and taken out flexibly in the production process. For example, we can replace the trans fats and cholesterol in meat with more protein and fiber from plants."
To make the products taste, look and feel like real meat, thousands of rounds of testing are required, like when adding liquid from beets to create the appearance of meat that's fresh.
It can also shrink the environmental footprint of meat because one cow typically emits a thousand liters of methane gas every day, and it takes almost 7-thousand liters of water to produce 450 grams of beef.
Innovative attempts are underway around the world to create even more alternatives.
Israel is trying a 3D printer to produce an entirely plant-based steak using protein taken from plants, which then are built up in layers to create the muscle, the blood and the fat of real meat.
The post-COVID-19 era is expected to bring more changes that recreate the taste and texture of real meat while reducing costs once the technology is scaled up.
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News.