Guilt-free meat eating did not use to be a thing! But now, it is! Lab-grown meats are created by first taking muscle samples from animals without killing them and extracting stem cells from those samples. And then, making these stem cells rapidly grow in primitive fibres that then bulk into muscle tissue. Guilt-free meat tend to be a slippery slope, but this explanation by Memphis Meats caught our attention. And now here we are, with more information on the matter.
Companies for lab meats
Memphis meats are just one of the companies that are pushing to this new “no-killing” endeavour towards meats. Since 2013, there have been several startups that have emerged out of the woodwork, and all of them are geared towards developing lab-grown beef, poultry and seafood. Let us take a brief look at these companies:
- Memphis Meats: The idea of the lab-grown meat had its inception by founder Uma Valeti back in 2005. It was not until 2015 that the idea became an institution, and it was only one year after this, we witnessed the world’s first lab-grown meatball.
- Mosa Meat: Mosa Meat is a Dutch company with the same goal as Memphis. To grow the meat in labs and prevent the slaughter of animals. Furthermore, it was Mosa Meat’s scientist that back in 2013, created the first slaughter free hamburger. Its cost was Euro 250,000 at that time and now it has come down to Euro 9. (This research was funded by Google Co-founder Sergey Brin)
- Finless Foods: Taking the same ideology, but with seafood, Finless Foods is another company who endeavors towards the production of fish meat without catching them from the sea.
Other than lab-designed mock meats, there are other companies like Beyond Burger and Impossible Foods that are innovating plant-based meats and have been garnering a lot of interest. Now Impossible burgers products are avilable in more than 5000 outlests in US alone.
These startups are just some of many that are currently garnering attention from several funders as well.
- Memphis Meats raised $20.1 million in funding. Among the funders is Bill Gates and the boxing legend Mike Tyson. Food giant Cargill and billionaire entreprenuer Richard Branson also joined the round with Bill gates.
- Last year, Mosa meat raised to $8.6 million. Among the early investors is also Google’s Sergey Brin who has stated that this new technology has the potential to change our view of the world.
- Finless Foods has raised $3.5 million towards their cruelty-free ventures.
These findings are the very testament that the tastes of the world are about to change.
Taste and Testing
The need for lab-grown meat arose due to three factors: To be able to eat meat without killing, to be able to feel the taste of meat by doing the same. And without creating a huge impact on the environment as animal farming is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases. The entire scientific community behind this is therefore geared towards retaining the taste, texture and nutritious value of the meat. As per the recent meatball prepared, it has been shown that these meaty innovations have gotten the taste right. However, there are still some challenges to go through and by 2021 Memphis Meats and Mosa meat are committed to coming out with the commercial launch:
Few hiccups which companies faced but eventually surpassed were
- FDA & USDA Approval: Now, both government agencies are working with those companies with a regulatory framework for safe output.
- The Cost: As any innovation, the cost of such endeavors was way too high. Which has come down drastically and for the scale of the market, it will be easily affordable.
- Public interest: Initial days the taste and mental block of the consumer were the challenges which have overturned with further development with the taste and textures. The upside of the products has been understood well by the younger generation and high earning groups and males as per the year 2018 survey mention by the Washington Post. While the generation above 55 years old still preferred old school meats along with female and low-income groups. The Study also revealed that politically liberal people have shown higher interest than conservatives.
Regardless of these challenges, the clean meat companies are forging ahead and our hope for a cruelty-free world shine even brighter.