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Agriculture Investment

  • Follow the money. That might be the best way to determine whether meatless meats become a disruptive technology for livestock producers or just another niche player in a multitrillion-dollar global protein industry.

  • Yaakov Nahmias believes your days as a beef producer are numbered. Whether he and a cavalry of other alternative meat proponents are right might depend on you. 

  • Here we go again. The “sceptical environmentalist”, Bjorn Lomborg, has returned to warn against the excesses of an impending green dictatorship. The latest threat: taking away our burgers!

  • There is a lot of good going for the South African agricultural industry, which often gets overshadowed by policy discussions.

  • Scientists at the University of Oxford say governments should consider imposing price hikes on red meat - such as beef, lamb and pork - to reduce consumption.

    They say it would save lives and more than £700m in UK healthcare costs, according to new research.

    So why can red meat be harmful?
    Various research has linked eating red meat to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

    In 2015 the World Health Organization warned that processed meats, like bacon, sausages and ham, could cause cancer, while unprocessed red meat could also increase your risk.

    And eating lots of red meat doesn't just have an impact on your own health.

    Researchers at the University of Oxford said meat eaters were also increasing the burden on the health service and the economy, due to a loss of workforce from ill health.

    There is also a growing awareness of the environmental impact of eating red meat.

    The high levels of land and water use and carbon emissions associated with its production mean cutting down is one of the key ways individuals can help tackle climate change.

    How could a tax work? And what would it do to prices?

    Researchers say a meat tax could cut consumption of processed meat by about two portions per week in high-income countries.

    In the UK, the study suggests a tax of 14% on red meat and 79% on processed meat.

    This would mean the price of a 227g Tesco Sirloin Steak would increase from £3.80 to £4.33.

    And for a pack of eight pork sausages from Sainsbury's the price would increase from £1.50 to £2.69.

    Earlier this year the government introduced a sugar tax on soft drinks, meaning manufacturers have to pay a levy on high-sugar drinks.

    The tax has already had an effect, with some leading brands reducing the sugar content in their products to avoid the levy.

    But whether it means consumers buy fewer sugary drinks remains to be seen.

    Will the sugar tax work?
    The impact of charging 5p for single-use carrier bags suggests financial incentives can change behaviour.

    The number of plastic bags handed out by supermarkets in England has drastically decreased since the change was introduced.

    However the government has been less keen on the idea of a "latte levy" on disposable coffee cups.

    Ministers prefer the idea of shops offering discounts to customers bringing their own cups rather than an extra charge.

    What are the arguments against?
    Attempts by the government to tell people what to do don't always go down well.

    Christopher Snowdon, from the Institute for Economic Affairs, said taxing food was "the next battleground for the nanny state".

    Last month climate minister Claire Perry told BBC News it was not the government's place to tell people they can't eat steak and chips, despite the environmental impact.

    Mr Snowdon also argued it would be "absurd" to raise the cost of living through a meat tax.

    There's also the concern that it targets foods bought by those on lower incomes.

    And then there is the question of whether it would work.

    The cost of a fry-up would be more expensive, but would this actually discourage meat-lovers from buying their favourite foods?

  • An Israeli startup hopes to disrupt the vegan food market by developing 3D printing technology that will be able to produce meat substitutes using plant-based formulations, saying the final product very closely resembles the experience of consuming natural meat. Its founder says it has “replicated… the complex matrix that is meat.”

  • Two recent papers by British and other scientists are calling for big changes in the type and amounts of meat we eat. One of these papers, co-authored by Professor Mark Sutton from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, calls for a 50% reduction in total meat consumption.

  • Becoming allergic to meat turns your life upside down. Known as alpha-gal allergy, the condition dictates what you can eat, wear, how you relax, and even which medicines are safe. Is research finally starting to catch up?

  • Recycling or taking the bus rather than driving to work has its place, but scientists are increasingly pointing to a deeper lifestyle change that would be the single biggest way to help the planet: eating far less meat.

  • As the scale and impacts of climate change become increasingly alarming, meat is a popular target for action. Advocates urge the public to eat less meat to save the environment. Some activists have called for taxing meat to reduce consumption of it.

  • Experts say there’s no reason to fear eating meat now, and there may even be a positive spinoff for the consumer.

  • Everybody loves a list of predictions for the coming year, so here’s mine. These are the trends I expect to define biotech in agriculture during 2019. 

  • A number of factors played together to create the perfect storm leading to the sharp decline in livestock prices during the past week. Consumers are under pressure due to our weak economic growth and relatively high energy prices and cannot pay more for protein.

  • Does the idea of being served ‘old’ beef gross you out? Well it shouldn’t, because it’s actually a good thing. Here’s everything you need to know about aging beef.




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