The Friday Report: October 16th, 2020

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

New Category of Meat Alternative Product in Development

The popularity of plant-based meat products has encouraged the continued development of a new alternative protein product, cell-based meat.  “Cultured meat” is the new term used to describe and identify a lab-grown meat product that is produced from animal cells.   The sale of alternative meat products has escalated in recent years, notably during the COVID-19 pandemic.  A surge of investment has acted like rocket fuel, spurring the push of popular products into fast food restaurants.  Major fast food chains are jumping on board to add meat alternatives to menus in forms including fried chicken.

Cultured meat products are at the beginning of its evolution.  In this phase, cultured meat products are encountering major challenges with reducing costs, scalability and obtaining regulatory approval.  No cultured meat product has successful reached consumers at this point.

Another obstacle is consumers.  According to a recent study by the University of Sydney and Curtin University, 72% of Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2002) were not attracted to cultured meat products, even though it would eliminate the need to kill animals.

Will EU “Farm to Fork” Environmental Initiative Lead to Doubling of Food Prices if Followed Globally?

In a conference call recently with European and American journalists, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue discussed concerns that food prices would double.  His concern is due to the EU environmental initiative which is believed to potentially increase trade tensions and lead to higher prices.

Perdue is basing his concerns on conclusions developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  European producers are anticipated to encounter higher costs and request protectionist measures from trade encumbrances.

Eager to decrease the environmental footprint of farming and food production in the EU, the bloc is following the Green Deal agenda designed to reach climate-neutral status by the middle of this century.  The new strategy provides guidance on how to reduce the use of pesticides and antibiotics by half, increase organic farming and plant-based protein use and optimize each link of the food system for sustainability.

Perdue believes the imposition of the new strategy to be “extremely problematic” for agriculture trade as it relies on “subjective” standards.  He believes that it is inevitable that the new policy will lead to protectionist policies.


Army Selects University of Wisconsin as Research Lead on Hybrid Vehicles and Aircraft

According to research conducted at Brown University last year, it was found that the U.S. military generates a larger carbon footprint than some industrialized countries.  To help decrease this impact, a grant has been allocated to the University of Wisconsin for developing hybrid-electric engine technology for the service branch as part of the Pentagon’s initiative in decreasing carbon emissions.  The university was awarded a $11.5 million grant for research by the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory.  The grant will begin this fall.  The University researchers will investigate if existing Army systems can be integrated with hybrid-electric engines.

Because climate change was recognized as a driving force in potentially increasing global instability, hunger, poverty and conflict, it is considered a threat to national security.


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