There have been a steady stream of articles that say: 1) the plant-based meat sector is flagging; therefore 2) plant-based meat is a failed endeavor. These stories miss two critical points, a thread, 1/n:
tl/dr: 1) the theory of change has not been tried; this is like abandoning solar in 1986 or electric vehicles in 2003; 2) there is not an option that has a higher likelihood of success. If we abandon alt proteins, we will not meet climate targets (w/all that entails) + more. 2/n
FIRST: The alt proteins theory of change is that when the products compete on taste & price, they should be able to take a huge chunk of the market. But they don’t yet compete on taste and price - the current state is not future state. 3/n
GM launched the EV1 in 1996 - it was left for dead a few years later (too expensive, not convenient!). Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House in 1979. Reagan removed them in 1986. Imagine if the world had doubled down then on renewables and EVs. 5/n
Beyond and Impossible burgers, v1, launched in 2016. Declaring the effort dead now would be like declaring solar dead circa 1986 & EVs dead circa 2003 (the year Tesla was founded). 6/n
Making meat from plants is not easy. As I told @EzraKlein for the @NYTimes 2 years ago: “If we leave this endeavor to the tender mercies of the market there will be vanishingly few products to choose from and it’ll take a very long time” ( 7/n
I sure do wish the world would have gone all-in on renewable energy in the late 1970s & EVs in the late 90s, instead of waiting around for decades. 8/n
TBC, this is why we need govt support, similar to the support govts give to renewables and electric vehicles. More here: and here /n
SECOND POINT: There’s a scientific consensus that if we don’t deal with meat’s contribution to climate change, Paris targets fail. Alt proteins are the one solution that analogizes to renewable energy & EVs (they compete in the market with the more carbon-intensive product). 10/n
TBC, I’m not saying they perfect our broken food system. Criticizing alt proteins b/c they don’t solve all food production harms is a straw man; no one says they do. But they massively mitigate #climate, #AMR, #pandemic risk, #biodiversity loss, & more. That’s pretty good! 11/n
There are many important & valuable ag-based endeavors, but none of them has taken a bite out of animal ag either - and none of them is focused on competing w/r/t price and taste, the 2 key factors w/r/t food choices for the vast majority of consumers. 12/n
We should not abandon alt proteins b/c they’ve not succeeded yet; that same logic would point toward abandoning literally everything, since nothing else has either. Meat production continues to go up and up and up. 13/n
CONCLUSION: Writing off plant-based meat now (when it doesn’t yet compete on price and taste) would be the equivalent of writing off solar energy in 1986 or electric vehicles in 2003, with all that entails w/r/t climate. Lots of other bad impacts too. 14/n

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Interesting thread