If you haven’t heard the term ‘lab meat’ then chances are you’re not a vegan or vegetarian. And if that’s the case, then welcome to the conversation because ‘lab meat’ or ‘clean meat’, ‘test tube meat’, ‘tube steak’, or ‘in vitro meat’ is having a moment and it’s only going to become a bigger part of the conversation.
Let’s start with the basics. ‘Lab Meat’ is meat that is grown through cultures in a lab. Why would this be such a buzz-worthy food? Because it cuts out the environmental, social, and animal cruelty issues that come with eating meat raised through modern agriculture. Some experts actually predict that this is a food of our future. Especially since meat consumption has been shown to be a major contributor to global warming through the transportation, feed, and waste that comes from raising meat for consumption. Plus meat that has been produced in a lab is far less likely to contain intestinal pathogens like E. coli. Now that sounds like food of the future.
Interestingly enough, NASA jump-started this industry with their research into whether their astronauts could grow their own meat from space about 20 years ago.
Memphis Meats is one of the most famous companies making ‘lab meat’ like pork, chicken, and beef, grown from stem cells from animals. The company envisions a future of meat without the slaughter and some big-time investors like Richard Branson and Bill Gates agree. In fact, Richard Branson has stated that the world will eat nothing but ‘lab meat’ in 30 years. But there are other players in the market as well, focusing on other meats like seafood.
But are you willing to try this humane and environmentally-friendly meat? A recent survey showed that only 14% of current consumers would be willing to try it but given how large the industry is, that’s still an enormous number.
Right now lab-grown meat is going to cost you much more than your average burger (a pound of beef from Memphis Meats currently costs $18,000) but as demand increases the supply, you can expect to see prices drop.
And experts predict that this is only the beginning. That lab-grown dairy, eggs, duck, and leather will be hitting the market soon.
What do you think? Would you try lab-grown meat?
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