Lab-Created Meat: The Future of Food or a Tasteless Trend?

nevodka /
nevodka /

The world has been facing pressing concerns over food security, climate change, and animal welfare, sparking new trends to address these challenges. One such innovation gaining momentum is lab-created meat, often dubbed as clean, sustainable, and ethical. But what exactly is this meat alternative and why is it growing in popularity?

What is Lab-Created Meat?

Lab-created meat, also known as cultured or in vitro meat, is produced by taking a small sample of animal cells, such as muscle tissue, and nurturing them in a nutrient-rich solution. By stimulating these cells to multiply through natural processes, scientists can cultivate large quantities of meat without the need for raising livestock. This process offers several potential benefits over traditional agriculture and meat production.

  1. Environmental Impact: Raising cattle contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water pollution, and land consumption. Lab-created meat could reduce these negative environmental effects by eliminating the need for
  2. Animal Welfare: Factory farming is a leading contributor to animal cruelty and suffering. Cultured meat production would alleviate this issue since there are no living animals involved in its creation, allowing for more humane practices.
  3. Food Security: The world’s population continues to grow, putting pressure on food resources. Lab-created meat could help address supply issues by producing consistent volumes of meat without reliance on factors like weather or disease.
  4. Public Health Concerns: One challenge with traditional meat production is the potential for zoonotic diseases and antibiotic resistance. Cultured meat would reduce these risks since cell cultures can be screened for pathogens, ensuring a safer food source.
  5. Customization and Enhanced Nutrition: Lab-created meat offers opportunities to tailor products based on consumer preferences and dietary needs. For example, it could be fortified with essential nutrients or designed specifically for vegans and vegetarians seeking a more realistic meat alternative.

Growing Popularity of Lab-Created Meat

Several startups have emerged in recent years to develop lab-created meat products, while major corporations like Tyson Foods, Cargill, and Archer Daniels Midland have invested in these companies. In addition, governments around the world are backing research and development initiatives for cultured meat production.

While there are governments jumping to support the lab-based meat and collaborations are being made within various big companies to produce it…and investors are coming out of the woodwork, is it really gaining popularity with consumers?

Think about it. While it doesn’t have the face, it’s not exactly like it’s vegan, either.

Beef Central had this to say about it: “Fake meat, synthetic meat, test tube meat, franken-meat, clean meat – call it what you will – is the trend to grow meat artificially in a laboratory, and has been attracting some impressive billionaire investment backing and media interest in recent times.”

At this point, anytime I ever hear someone talk about lab-created meat and the possibility of it going onto my plate, I will reject it and refer to it as “franken-meat.”

This innovation holds immense potential, but there are still technical and regulatory challenges ahead. It can’t possibly be as tasty as the real thing, either – and that’s one of the biggest hurdles that companies have. Well, that, and coming up with a name other than test tube meat that people will actually be eager to try.

This may be a solution for those who are starving in Africa, but for those of us who have grown up eating burgers and steaks from real cows, it’s going to be a hard “no” for it to ever become our future.