-by Nigel Osborne

If the Canadian government (regardless of political stripe) were smart, they would have the forethought to gradually remove the subsidies received by the dairy, egg and meat sectors and invest towards the next economic revolution: food analogues. Clean meat, plant-based milk and eggs will revolutionize the entire global food system.

Rather than use taxpayers money to compensate outdated and inefficient methods of agriculture, which are rife with environmental and animal welfare concerns, Canada needs to look to become a world-leader in the next economic disruption. Maple Leaf Foods have already purchased Light Life and Field Roast (both successful U.S. plant and grain-based meat companies) as part of their stated goals of becoming the world's leader in sustainable protein. U.S. based firms have bought both Daiya Foods (a Vancouver-based non-dairy cheese company) and Gardein (a Vancouver-based plant and grain-based meat company). Tyson (the largest poultry provider in the world) recently bought a percentage of Beyond Meat out of California whose plant-based burgers are now being sold by A&W in Canada among many other outlets.

However, clean meat is where the largest upside is going to be realized - actual animal flesh produced through a process that is akin to brewing and requires no massive commitment of land and water to feed and hydrate animals confined on CAFO's or in windowless sheds across the country-side. Such a strategy could allow Canada to gain a foot-hold in what is going to be the world's largest economic transition in history. The reality is, everyone eats, and with the global population to hit 10 billion by 2040 (or sooner), animal agriculture is unsustainable.

Unfortunately, we remain mired in decades old debates about supply-management and protectionist policies on food systems that clearly have an expiry or best-before date. It is time to invest in food analogues now.

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