Bill Gates says rich countries should only eat 100 percent synthetic beef

"You can get used to the taste difference," the Microsoft founder says.
"You can get used to the taste difference," the Microsoft founder says. Photo credit: Getty.

Billionaire Bill Gates is moving from technology to tackling climate change and one of his first orders of business is switching from real meat to plant-based alternatives. 

The Microsoft founder explained that he thought it was one of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during a recent interview with MIT's Technology Review.

"I do think all rich countries should move to 100 percent synthetic beef," said Gates. 

"You can get used to the taste difference and the claim is they're going to make it taste even better over time. Eventually, that green premium is modest enough that you can sort of change the [behaviour of] people or use regulation to totally shift the demand."

Synthetic meat alternatives like those produced by Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have been growing in popularity in recent years. Both Burger Fuel and Burger King have each released 'fake meat' versions of their most popular burgers in New Zealand. 

But Gates says he knows the idea is tough to swallow for many. 

"Saying to people, 'You can't have cows anymore' - talk about a politically unpopular approach to things," he said in the Technology Review interview. 

According to Market Watch, critics are also questioning why Gates should dictate what countries should do to address climate change when a new report singles him out as one of the world's top carbon emitters. 

His new book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster is released this week.