Projections of salt consumption in animal feeding and cultivated meat production

Replacement of animal based meat with plant based- or cell based meat is impacting salt consumption in two ways: 

Decreasing Number of Animals

The number of animals raised to produce meat will decrease proportional to the amount of meat that is going to be produced from non-animal sources. Less animals will consume less animal feed salt. To estimate future meat consumption, the OECD-FAO agricultural outlook data 2022 – 2031 was linearly extrapolated to 2050. Typical daily salt intakes of cattle, pigs, chicken, and sheep are used for the calculations. The resulting consumption of salt over the entire breeding period per kg of meat is shown in the table below. Multiplication of the total salt intake in the breeding process with meat volumes yields overall an animal feed salt consumption. The second column shows the content of salt per kg of the respective meat.

The dark blue line of the graph below shows the projected consumption of animal feed salt in meat production, without the effect of animal based meat substitution. Salt use would grow inline with increasing meat production to over 21 million tons by 2050. 

Projections of McKinsey, Barclays, and EY, suggest exponential growth of cell based meat production between now and 2050. In synthesis, I assume market share to reach 20% by 2050 in the calculations underlying above data. In the same period, the share of plant based meat is expected to grow in a more linear fashion to reach 11 % market share by 2050. 

Salt as an Ingredient of the Culture Medium

As described in the previous post, the culture medium contains salt. One can estimate the amount of salt that is consumed in the cultivation of artificial meat from the salt content in meat (second column of the table above). Salt consumption in the culture medium will be in the range of the volumes of salt that remain in the meat and have to be replaced. The red curve shows forecast salt use in the production of cell based meat. No salt is consumed in the production of plant based meat, except for seasoning purposes.

Resulting Salt Consumption Forecast

The combination of decreasing animal feed salt consumption, and increasing salt use in culture media is represented in the light blue curve of the graph. Salt consumption in the production of meat is expected to continue to grow in the next years, in line with growth of animal farming. After 2025, animal feed salt consumption will stagnate with stagnating animal based meat production. After 2040, the replacement of animal based meat with plant based- and cell based meat will result in decreasing consumption of animal feed salt. 


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *