The year 2020 shattered our assumptions about food. When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted traditional supply chains and caused health crises in meatpacking plants, plant-based meat went from novelty to reality. Rapidly introduced in fast-food chains and grocery aisles, products made by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods led the charge in introducing the public to plant-based burgers that look, taste, and smell like traditional animal-derived meat. A host of start-ups and legacy food companies joined the fray, offering consumers healthier and more environmentally friendly meat alternatives at price points that are nearing parity with traditional meat-based products.
While plant-based food grabbed headlines during 2020, more fundamental innovations entered the picture as well. Cellular cultivation, which produces foods from animal cell cultures, aims to offer consumers products that are molecularly identical to the animal-derived products that are central fixtures in many diets globally. It took a major leap forward in 2020 when the Singapore Food Agency became the first regulatory agency to approve cell-based chicken made by Eat Just, a Bay Area FoodTech company. With more regulatory approvals expected in the near term, 2020 positioned cellular cultivation for an introduction to consumers.
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