Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has named the number one “game-changing” trend of the future as the consumption of plant-based proteins instead of meat. In a report by Fortune, Schmidt spoke to thousands of investors and business executives at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference. Schmidt has dedicated his career to identifying worldwide technology trends, and discussed plant-based food as one of six upcoming technologies that will significantly improve society, including mobile medical data, self-driving cars, and computers that pinpoint effective teaching strategies for individual students.
Plant-based proteins won out over the other five technologies both in terms of global impact and improvement in the overall quality of life. Schmidt says, “Replacing livestock with growing and harvesting plants could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change… The meat industry, cattle producers, in particular, emit significant greenhouse gases.”
Replacing meat with plant proteins helps the environment, and lowers food costs for impoverished communities, particularly in developing countries. In short, our growing world can be fed more efficiently and less expensively on plant-based proteins.
But Schmidt isn’t just talking about eating more tofu. He continues, “The world is now ready to better produce synthetic food from plants with the help of computers and data crunching.” He points out that technology can help scientists identify the best plant combinations for both palatability and enhanced nutrition.
The prediction is already on the horizon and approaching fast. Organizations like the Good Food Institute are connecting investors with funding opportunities for plant-based companies. They also work with restaurants, grocery stores, and cafeterias to increase the availability of plant-based menu items.
With pressing issues like environmental degradation and global food scarcity, it is now more important than ever to look to the future of plant-based proteins.