SLU news

‘Meat: the Four Futures’ – a podcast exploring more, less, alternative or no meat at all

Published: 18 May 2023

Are our choices in the grocery store based on facts, values, habits, or simply a gut feeling of what feels right? TABLE, a platform run by three European universities, is now launching a podcast that takes a holistic view of the future of meat, exploring four very different future scenarios. The goal is to provide a broadened perspective in the polarised debate about meat and to pave the way for informed decisions.

The question of whether we should eat meat - and which meat and how much - is a highly topical, sensitive and decisive question, not least from a climate and sustainability perspective. We know our current food system must change – but how? The debate pertaining to this question often becomes polarised and stagnated, instead of nuanced and responsive.

To increase the understanding of how many different perspectives there are regarding the future of meat, the podcast Meat: the Four Futures lets over 30 voices from around ten countries around the world be heard. The ambition is to find common ground, to identify the difference between facts and values and to give listeners the chance to become better listeners. Meat: the Four Futures will release one episode a week until the summer.

 – Of course, we don't cover everything in this series, but the podcast provides broad perspectives and conditions for more well-informed decisions. We hope that the listeners are curious enough to follow us through the entire series, because a big point is precisely to also listen to those whose perspectives you do not recognize or agree with, says Matthew Kessler, podcast host and coordinator at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

How does Lars Appelqvist, CEO of HKScan, a Nordic meat company, see the future of meat? What alternative proteins does Nicole Rocque, Innovation Specialist at the Good Food Institute in India, suggest? Can you run sustainable agriculture without any animals, or do they have to enter the equation? Is meat an unbeatable source of nutrition, or is meat food that humans, after millennia, are moving away from?

Three universities explore four futures for meat

Meat: the Four Futures is a science-based conversation about meat consumption and meat production, produced by TABLE, a collaboration between the three universities Wageningen University and Research (WUR), the University of Oxford, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

The four future scenarios explored are:

  • Efficient meat 2.0 - The only way to feed billions or the root of society's problems?
  • Plant-based ’no meat’ - Planet-friendly eating or going against our nature?
  • Alternative ’meat’ - A utopian evolution or science fiction dystopia?
  • Less meat - Triple win for people, planet and animals or elitist and unrealistic?

– I hope that this podcast will help people to better understand what their views are and why they hold their views, while also having an empathetic understanding of how and why people come at things from a different perspective, says Tara Garnett, researcher at the University of Oxford. Her scientific report Gut Feelings and possible tomorrows served as one of the inspiration sources for the podcast series.

Interacting with the listeners

Meat: The Four Futures isn’t about communicating what the future ought to be - instead it invites listeners to see themselves in the futures described and to contribute their own thoughts. In addition to sending recordings of your views to be woven into a final episode, you can take a values-based quiz to see what your ‘good’ future turns out to be. The project is also providing a digital dialogue platform on TABLE's website, in order to capture reflections and questions, as well as provide space for continued discussion.

Listeners can find and subscribe to the podcast using their podcast platform of choice.



Matthew Kessler, Project Coordinator
Department of Energy and Technology, SLU
+46 73 268 34 31,

Press material

Find more information about the project and the four futures on the Meat: the Four Futures website.
More material can be downloaded from Meat: The Four Futures Media Bank.


The project and podcast Meat: the Four Futures is coordinated by SLU Future Food and produced by TABLE, a collaboration between the Swedish University of Agriculture (SLU), Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and the University of Oxford. TABLE is an academic platform that seeks to facilitate informed discussions about how the food system can become sustainable, resilient, just, and ultimately “good”. 

The project Meat: the Four Futures is funded by FORMAS, the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development.