The Food of the Future: Meat Created in Laboratories

Technology

Food companies are betting big that consumers will eat meat not derived not from animals or even plants, but created in laboratories. And they’re betting that marketing will help the adoption of the new category.

“Clean meat” is the term an animal-advocacy group called Faunalytics, along with a not-for-profit alternative animal products group called the Good Food Institute, found may encourage trial of chemically-created meat. “Lab-grown,” “in vitro” and “cultured meat” are all terms that left consumers saying, “no way” to the new category.

The meat, generated from cell cultures, is drawing a lot of attention – and a lot of investment. JUST, a startup that makes both plant-based meat products and cellular agriculture as it’s called, raised $220 million recently.

The products are being pushed as a healthy alternative to animal-based meat.

Cultured fish is also gaining momentum. “Clean fish” may be an easier sell than its original counterpart in that it doesn’t contain mercury or plastic. At the same time however, the nutrients that make real fish healthy come mainly from algae consumption. Companies are working hard on reincorporating those elements.

Despite the health benefits companies are having a hard time overcoming the “yuck” factor. According to recent surveys, only 3% of consumers expressed “no reservations” about eating laboratory-cultured meats. Sixty-eight percent said they were “not interested” in them, and 57% responded “No, absolutely not,” when asked about eating meat created in labs.

Photo by JUST

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