Back to Africa Check

No, all meat will not be ‘vegan’ by 2040

A meme shared on Facebook on 8 December 2019 shows an image of hamburgers and chips on a serving tray.

“By 2040 all meat will be vegan, experts predict,” the headline says and a caption underneath the image says: “Most of the meat eaten in 2040 won’t come from dead animals, according to new research.”

The post was shared in South Africa and flagged as possibly false by Facebook’s fact-checking system.

Vegans do not eat any meat or other animal byproducts like milk, butter, cheese or honey. But will all meat really be vegan by 2040? We investigated.

Article meme based on more accurate

The Facebook user who posted the meme linked to an article in the comments to prove his point. 

The article is from the newspaper the Irish Times, published on 13 June. It says: “Most ‘meat’ in 2040 will not come from dead animals, says report.”

The subheading to the article gives more information: “Consultants say 60% will be grown in vats or plant-based products that taste like meat.”

The Irish Times was referencing a 2018 report by global consultancy firm AT Kearney. This report suggested that by 2040, 60% of meat will come from alternatives to traditional meat sources, or the slaughter of animals.

The report, which is based on the research of food industry experts, estimated that by 2040, 35% of all meat will be “cultured meat” and 25% will be “novel vegan meat replacements”. 

Cultured meat and vegan meat replacements

Cultured meat, also called lab-grown meat or clean meat, is made from animal cells using tissue engineering techniques, instead of slaughtering animals. 

The cells used to grow cultured meat are extracted from live animals and this process does not harm the animal. However, according to a Daily Beast article on whether vegetarians would eat cultured meat or not, the cells are “then grown using fetal bovine serum, an unappetizing by-product of the slaughter of pregnant cattle”. 

Cultured meat is therefore not vegan. 

Vegan meat replacements are completely plant-based. It is a food alternative that looks and tastes like meat, but does not come from animals. 

Vegan meat replacements are made from ingredients such as soy, vegetable protein, tofu and wheat gluten. 

Some experts claim that vegan and vegetarian foods are healthier than meat and animal byproducts. These foods also minimise animal suffering, as animals are not kept under cruel conditions and slaughtered. 

By 2040, experts predict ‘conventional meat supply will drop’

In the AT Kearney report that the Facebook meme appears to be based on, experts do not say that all meat will be “vegan” by 2040. 

Instead, the report predicts that by 2040, only 40% of meat eaten across the world will be from slaughtered animals. The rest will be vegan meat replacements and lab-grown meat, according to the report. – Butchie Seroto

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.