Cultured meat promises to change how we eat and help solve some of the big problems of a crowded planet.
In a few years, you might serve your food with meat grown from animal cells in a factory, rather than on a farm.
Over the past decade, cultured meat has evolved from a few pioneers to more players, working towards the common goal of making meat derived from animals a thing of the past.
With this building momentum, the commercialization of cultured meat in Europe and the US seems inevitable. To prepare for its arrival, it’s important to start thinking about the impact the technology will make, how it will be regulated, and whether people will actually want to eat it.
“In time, I believe that cultured meat could fundamentally change the way most meat is produced in Europe,” said Peter Verstrate, COO of the Dutch company Mosa Meat. Verstrate co-founded Mosa Meat with Mark Post, the scientist behind the world’s first lab-grown burger. The company aims to be one of the first to sell cultured meat in European restaurants and supermarkets.
The environmental benefits of cultured meat are still tough to predict. According to some estimates, the shift could reduce methane emissions and decrease water and land use by over 95%.
Growing meat directly from animal cells could also reduce the need for farmers to dose livestock with antibiotics, which contribute to the ever-increasing antibiotic resistance crisis, and with growth hormones, which are controversial for their impact on human health.
Most cultured meat companies are trying to produce their versions of beef. Many players, including Mosa Meat, the Israeli firm Future Meat, and US-based Upside Foods, expect to launch their products worldwide in the coming years.