Your Next Steak Might Be Made of Fungus

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Eating in the future might look very different from how we're used to, for a number of reasons. It will almost certainly be more sustainable, even if that means (ulp) eating bugs. But as we try to move toward a greener diet, full of fake meats and renewable resources, what we put on the table could get there through some circuitous routes.

For instance, New Food Economy has just released an initial review of an intriguing new meat replacement: a steak that involves neither cows nor tuna. Instead, the startup Emergy has developed a convincing steak replacement that relies on fungi, and it can be grown in a vat using leftover products from manufacturing beer in about 20 hours. Emergy representatives stated that a full-blown facility could "produce the protein equivalent of 4,200 cows a day."

Editor Joe Fassler describes his visit to Emergy's facilities and the vegan "steak," haricots, and mashed potatoes he was served. "I never felt like I stepped into the uncanny valley," he writes (Impossible Burger and its ilk suggest that meat-eaters won't be able to tell the difference from beef). Eating Emergy's steak product was both an interesting aesthetic experience for Fassler and an invitation to consider some bigger questions about the future of food.

The whole review is well worth your time, and if you're curious about trying a fungus-based steak for yourself, book your tickets to the Denver area for early 2020: It could appear in select restaurants around Boulder, Colorado, within a few months.