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Community acceptance of low-methane meat

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

Two raw steaks on a grill with flames coming up from below.
Low-methane meat on the barbie during a cooking demonstration by celebrity chef Mat Moran. Image: FutureFeed

Low-methane meat – from animals fed Asparagopsis seaweed supplements that reduce their methane emissions – is gaining market and community acceptance.

FutureFeed is the Australian company that holds the patents and licences partners to produce and market Asparagopsis-based livestock supplements.

While the foundational science, completed in a collaboration between CSIRO, Meat and Livestock Australia and James Cook University, dates back to 2016, FutureFeed was only formed in August 2020 as a joint venture. Its investors include CSIRO, Woolworths Group, GrainCorp, Harvest Road Group and AGP Sustainable Real Assets/ Sparklabs Cultiv8.

In the past 18 months, FutureFeed has licensed its technology to seven businesses across Australia, New Zealand, the US, Europe and Canada. The company has grown from one staff member to a team of eight, with an additional four staff to be recruited before the end of 2022.

FutureFeed is focusing its efforts on four key areas:

  • undertaking significant trial work and R&D to build upon the foundational science;

  • furthering the scientific evidence to support regulatory pathways and access to markets in the US and EU for Asparagopsis as a livestock supplement;

  • establishing certification, production standards and a digital traceability program; and

  • marketing and education about Asparagopsis and low-methane meat.

One of the highlights of the past year was a representation of FutureFeed meat being included in a 6-month exhibition about the future of food and sustainable production systems at the Smithsonian Institution in the US.

In another event, celebrity chef Matt Moran used commercially produced meat from cattle that had been fed Asparagopsis supplements in a cooking demonstration. Moran is a fourth-generation farmer and renowned chef who was enthusiastic about the lower-methane meat.

These events are part of the company’s marketing and education program, generating acceptance and confidence across all parts of the value chain.

And in July 2022, FutureFeed won the Australian Financial Review's Sustainability Leaders Award in the Agriculture & Environment category.

A cow in a stall munches on hay. It has an orange tag in it's left ear with which reads CSIRO 7028'
Further research is evaluating additional productivity benefits from Asparagopsis supplements. Image: FutureFeed

Further research

In the year ahead, FutureFeed will begin a large-scale trial to generate highly replicated data demonstrating how the Asparagopsis supplements improve the productivity of cattle.

Previous small-scale trials showed energy that was otherwise lost to methane can be redirected into better nutrition for livestock. One trial showed a 20% weight gain in cattle fed the seaweed supplement. Another showed a 14% increase in feed efficiency.

This latest trial involving 300 cattle seeks to validate and consolidate these findings. The University of New England is conducting the trial for FutureFeed with $500,000 support from the Australian Government’s Methane Emissions Reduction In Livestock program.

More Information: FutureFeed

FutureFeed is a corporate member of the Australian Sustainable Seaweed Alliance

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