MEDINA, Wash. – Bill Gates, American business magnate, investor, programmer, inventor and philanthropist, views meat alternatives (often known as analogs) as playing a major role in the future of food production, according to The9Billion. Gates’ blog, aptly named The Gates Notes, contains a feature called The Future of Food, in which he covers how food scientists are starting to reinvent meat by creating product analogs that contain no meat ingredients – and how this could benefit the entire planet.

Worldwide meat consumption has doubled over the past two decades and is expected to double again by 2050 when the global population is predicted to total 9 billion compared to the current 7 billion, Gates said.

Many developing countries are experiencing economic growth. As a result, more people can afford to buy more meat. However, it takes a lot more farmland, water and other resources to satisfy this constantly growing demand for meat. As a result, Earth “will need millions of tonnes more meat than it does today”, Gates said, and meeting this demand is not sustainable, he claimed. What’s more, it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to become vegetarians.

But Gates sees at least a part of the solution for food needs of the future as producing meat and egg analogs. He cited two such companies, Beyond Meat and Hampton Creek Foods, as developing ways to use heat and pressure to turn plants into foods that look and taste just like meat and eggs. He claims he couldn’t differentiate between Beyond Meat’s chicken alternative and real chicken. Hampton Creek foods is working on a plant-based alternative for eggs.