Lab-Grown Meat: it tastes better than it sounds

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What is Lab Grown Meat?

Cultured meat, synthetic meat, clean meat… They’re all the same thing, meat grown in a laboratory, the concept just goes by many names. Basically, the meat cells of an animal are cultured (grown) in a laboratory environment, instead of on a living animal. The idea (like any good idea) bothers some people and excites others. Whether people want to believe it or not, there is definitely a need for change in the animal agriculture industry.

Cultured meat could seriously lower greenhouse gases in the air. Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that stores 28x more heat than CO2, and is a big part of the global warming problem. Cultured meat also uses up to 95% less water and land. Growing meat without a living animal means no need for chemicals to help the animal grow, so the food is unpolluted as well. This is why it is sometimes called clean meat; it creates almost no environmental pollution and the meat itself is also clean of any pollution.

In 2013, the first clean meat burger was created by startup company Mosa Meat and cost $325,000. By 2015, the price was around $11. The plan now is to bring prices down even more and release a product within 3-4 years. So as you can see, for Mosa Meats (and most other startups), cultured meat production is still a little too expensive and the meats don’t taste as good as animal meat yet, but they all are working to solve this problem and bring the product to global scale. Another huge problem will be getting the government to let them sell the product. Some people fear that this new way of growing meats might cause health problems. Even if the food is perfectly healthy, it will take time to do all the science to get the government to agree that it’s safe for people to eat.

“Cells are the building blocks of life. All the meat we eat grows from animal cells, and [what we do] is no different: We produce food by [growing] high-quality cells from animals. Then we cultivate the cells into meat by feeding them their favorite nutrients... we feed the cells exactly what they need...”

- MemphisMeats.com

The message above from memphismeats.com is very heart warming, but it will take time to be certain that cultured meat is just as safe and healthy as regular meat. It will also take time for the technology to fully develop so the meat is both cheap and delicious; this is the real key to market success. See the problem is that humans have eaten meat for 2.3 millions years, it will be almost impossible for cultured meat to scale if it isn’t just as cheap and just as delicious as regular meat. However, there are many startup companies working to develop cultured meats and lots of ‘smart money’ investors putting up hundreds of millions of dollars. Here are a few startup companies below:

Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods makes plant-based fake meat, not cultured meat, no animal cells at all. So, this company doesn’t actually make synthetic meat, but it was added because it already has a product to market. Be careful though! There is fear that their burger might not be safe to eat.

Memphis Meats

Memphis Meats is a promising player that has received  $181 million in investment capital.  They have no product to market and no clear product launch date. As of January 2020, they are working with the government to make their product legal to sell.

Finless Foods

Finless Foods is a startup focusing on fish. Over-fishing of bluefin tuna, salmon and many other types of larger fish is a danger to the world’s oceans right now. These kinds of fish could go away forever if something doesn’t change.

Mosa Meat

From the photos, Mosa Meat probably has the best looking meat on the list. (Look at that hamburger, delicious!) They also have a video that explains how their meat is created. (FreeTalk readers should be able to understand most of this video)

Looking Forward

If you’re still unsure if cultured meat will be an important part of the future, just think about this:

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It took 200,000 years for our human population to reach 1 billion—and then only 200 years to reach 7 billion, and the population is still growing.

Meat production causes 18% of all greenhouse gas. Agriculture takes up 28% of the Earth’s land. Demand for meat is expected to double by 2050… Can this kind of agriculture really continue?