10/12/23 Plant-based Meat on Barbecue, Cultivated Meat on Screen

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On World Plant-based Burger Day, Animal Friends Croatia, and Matei Negovetić barbecue revolutionary beefsteak and teach about cultivated meat

- Jelačić Square, October 10 at 11 am: demonstration of continued expansion of plant-based meat and development of cultivated meat

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On October 10, 2023, starting at 11 am, Zagreb Ban Jelačić Square will be covered by the smell of barbecue. Many of those who happen to be in the area will assume it comes from animal meat due to the pleasant smell and appearance of the meat, however, they are bound to be surprised when Animal Friends Croatia and Matei Negovetić, who will be preparing the food on the spot, inform them that the tasting menu offers only plant-based food. Animal Friends Croatia organised the event to mark the World Plant-based Burger Day on October 10, as they do every year, emphasising that plant-based meat is better for human health, animals, and the planet. A large screen placed behind the barbecue will show a short film on the development and advantages of cultivated, or cultured, meat, translated into Croatian.

Plant-based meat has a remarkably similar taste and texture to animal meat, and it is made with quality plant-based protein, usually from peas. Plant-based meat manufacturers made use of the bio-chemical similarity between plants and animals, or rather, the fact that, although plants have no muscles, they contain protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. To produce plant-based meat, 72-99% less water and 47-99% less arable land is needed. Moreover, it causes 51-91% less water pollution and releases 30-90% less greenhouse gases. Plant-based meat is available from most Croatian shops in a variety of forms: from ćevapčići and beefsteaks, to salami and hot dogs – all of which Animal Friends Croatia will be offering to passers-by at Jelačić Square. The revolutionary vegan filet mignon is expected to be the main attraction of the event.

Although cultivated meat is still not available in Croatia, Animal Friends Croatia are eager to see first products of this kind to reach the supermarket shelves in the near future. Cultivated meat is made directly from animals through cell culture. In the process, basic elements are used to build muscles and fats, instigating the same biological processes that occur in animals. It is identical to animal meat on the cell level without the need to breed and kill animals for food. In addition, cultured or cultivated meat has immense benefits in comparison to conventional animal farming and meat produced by breeding and killing animals. Cultivated meat is also known as pure meat as it is produced in controlled conditions, and unlike animal meat, it does not contain any antibiotics, fertilizers, pesticides, or tumours. It is important to mention that the production process does not involve genetic modification.

The use of plant-based and cultivated meat will help reduce deforestation linked to animal breeding for food, loss of biodiversity, resistance to antibiotics, zoonotic outbreaks, and animal slaughter. This information will be shared in the short educational video on cultivated meat that is bound to intrigue passers-by at Jelačić Square. Animal Friends Croatia invite all to learn more about cultured meat: “We have a historical opportunity to eradicate mass animal killing and destruction of our planet through innovation and new products. Food industry is undergoing a major transformation. Innovations such as cultured meat must be welcomed as soon as possible by spreading correct information and preventing prejudice.”

Matei Negovetić, a cooking aficionado always keen to try out new recipes, head of the Plant-based Cuisine Academy and owner of the Plant-based full of taste blog and website, is inviting everyone to join in the education and degustation on Tuesday: “If you don’t believe me when I say that plant-based meat is just as juicy, compact and tasty, and dishes made with it equally pleasing both visually and in taste, come and see for yourselves. While enjoying tasty bites, you will be able to learn more about the fact that by switching to plant-based meat and other plant-based protein, we will be able to use far fewer natural resources and help reduce the enormous damage that animal farming for food has caused our planet. The plant-based meat that we will offer for degustation incorporates much more than good taste: this meat is more easily digested due to a high fibre content, thus lowering cholesterol, and, along with a reduced calorie count, it helps improve the gut microbiome health.”

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