Australian company FutureFeed has served up a world’s first this month, dishing up sustainable seaweed-fed lower emission steak with celebrity chef Matt Moran.
The seaweed behind the lower emission beef is Asparagopsis Armata, a red seaweed that naturally prevents the formation of methane by inhibiting a specific enzyme in the gut of livestock during digestion.
According to FutureFeed, research has shown that the seaweed has been proven to lower methane emissions by over 80%.
Lower Emission Steaks Ready For Market. FutureFeed CEO Dr. Regan Crooks said the lower emissions steaks mark a significant moment in the drive towards lower-methane meat, with the solution ready for the beef feedlot market.
“It’s incredible to see the transition of a solution from science to a commercial reality and I think that’s something worth celebrating.
“These steaks represent the launch of the technology for the feedlot market and we are anticipating many more steaks on plates in Australia and around the world that are certified by FutureFeed.
“The science proves the safety and efficacy, and we now look to the seaweed growers making incredible progress locally and globally for what we anticipate being rapidly increasing supply,” he added.
Climate Challenges. The FutureFeed chief executive noted that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported last week that methane emissions in the atmosphere are at their highest levels in hundreds of thousands of years.
“We expect this will lead to increasing pressure on our sector, and it is timely that we are able to provide a solution that has now been proven, in a commercial setting, to significantly reduce methane.”
FutureFeed was born out of an IP (intellectual property) partnership between CSIRO, Meat and Livestock Australia, and James Cook University.
FutureFeed licences seaweed farmers in Australia and around the world to grow and sell the seaweed.
Serving up Steaks. To show how the asparagopsis-fed meat handles the heat, chef and fourth-generation farmer Matt Moran gave a small group of at-home chefs the rare opportunity to join him for a virtual cooking class as part of Australian National Science Week.
“It is so important that people not only understand the origins of the food on their plates, but the impact cultivating that food has on our planet,” Moran said.
“As a farmer, I understand the incredible advances the agricultural industry has made to become more sustainable and asparagopsis is a natural solution to the methane emissions from cattle without losing the nourishment and employment opportunities the red meat industry provides.
“I cooked up a beautiful piece of sirloin last week over charcoal at home ahead of the cooking class, and it was great to have the same great taste with the knowledge of lower methane emissions.”
Woolworths Investment. Woolworths Group is an investor in FutureFeed and collaborated on the commercial trial.
Anna Speer, managing director of Woolworths Group’s red meat business Greenstock, said customers are increasingly looking to supermarkets and industry to help them live and shop more sustainably.
“We’re backing FutureFeed to help Australia’s cattle farmers continue to produce some of the world’s best beef with a lower emissions profile,” Speer said.
“We want to play our part in helping agriculture harness innovation for a low carbon future and we’re hopeful this trial marks an important step in the future of beef production.”
Dr. Crooks added that not only is asparagopsis a natural climate solution, but it leaves zero traces in meat.
“As part of this trial, we reaffirmed what we have seen to date and that’s that there are no traces of the seaweed in the meat or edible offal from cattle that have been fed asparagopsis.”
Future of the Meat Market. FutureFeed chair Duncan Ferguson said the event was the first step to showcasing how asparagopsis-fed steak can change the mainstream meat market.
“Commercialising and scaling asparagopsis production will not only create opportunities for cattle farmers, but it will enable an ecosystem of success amongst aquafarmers, livestock producers, lot feeders, transporters, processors, and exporters,” Ferguson said.
“This isn’t about just making a feed ingredient, it’s developing a whole new industry for communities all around the world, and it’s unique in that it addresses a market need so there is already significant demand for the technology,” he added.