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