Future Farming: Could lab-produced ‘Clean-meat’ be the future?


This week on Future farming, we look into the increased interest in meats produced in a lab.

Future Farming: Could lab-produced ‘Clean-meat’ be the future?

  • ADDED
  • 3 mths ago

This week on Future farming, we look into the increased interest in meats produced in a lab.

Lab produced meat has become increasingly popular recently, with scientists now claiming that one day all our meat could originate from a lab.

China have recently agreed a $300million trade agreement with Israel, as reported by modernfarmer.com. The deal will see Chinese companies join forces with clean-tech Israeli companies, which includes lab-grown meat sector.

The lab generated meat products, also called cultured protein, clean meat, animal-free meat, is already being produced by eight producers across the world. Each of the companies work on the same premise of production.

The process:
The process involves taking stem cells from living animals and then supplying those cells with nutrients until the tissue is produced to the desired volume, I.e. enough to produce a burger, fried chicken or any other of our beloved meat products.

The technology used, according to its boosters, results in less environmental problems, than traditional meat methods. This is in compared to the large levels of methane being produced, from rearing cattle and other livestock. Lab-grown meats save money on feed, as well as the need for resources such as land, water, and energy. It is estimated to require up to a tenth less resources than traditional farming methods.

China:
Chinese interest has peaked in 'clean meat’ due to their need to lower their ever-increasing carbon emissions. The Chinese government could face huge financial sanctions if they don’t reduce their levels adequately in the coming years. This is hindered by the recent increase in meat consumption in the country. 14.5% of Chinese emissions, according to the UN, are contributed by the livestock sector.

The Chinese have placed climate change, food safety and pollution at the forefront of their agenda for the coming years.

“The Chinese market for meat is still growing while fighting climate change, pollution and food safety issues are high on the agenda of the Chinese leadership,” said Peter Verstrate, CEO of the Dutch company Mosa Meat.

“There’s no better way to combine the two than by developing and scaling clean meat,” he added.

Mosa Meat is a brand of ‘clean meat’ first developed and released in 2013 when they produced their first ‘clean’ hamburger. CEO, Peter Verstrate, said that although there are now obvious direct advantages from the deal, he welcomed the news. He said the Chinese investment is, even more of a validation of the fact that this is a field worth exploring and developing,”

Israeli Companies:
There were three Israeli clean meat companies involved in the deal. These included SuperMeat, Future Meat Technologies, and Meat the Future. The deal gives them the opportunity to break into the bustling Chinese market. SuperMeat co-founder, Shir Friedman, revealed his delight at the deal, saying he was “very excited to see the global and mutual interest in clean technology.”

The deal has been described as “a colossal market opportunity” for everyone involved by Bruce Friedrich, the head of The Good Food Institute in Washington D.C.

“This could put [lab-grown] meat onto the radar of Chinese officials who have the capacity to steer billions of dollars into this technology,” Friedrich said recently.

Other investments in Clean Meat:
This latest investment by China is not the only major investment in recent years. Richard Branson and his fellow billionaire Bill Gates have also recently invested in the lab-grown meat. They recently put money into startup Memphis Meats.

Memphis Meats have already released prototypes of their future products, though no product has yet been released onto the market.

Difficulties:
The main problem in the past was the price it takes to produce the product. In 2013, when the first ever clean burger was produced, it cost a whopping $330,000. Now the cost of production is down as low as $11.36, that is €9.76. Though this means potential retail prices on products would remain very high in comparison to regular meats, though it is a vast improvement in the space of four years.

It is expected that over the next four to five years ‘clean’ meats will become available on a widespread scale. Could this be the way to combat climate change? Could we all be eating lab-produced meat in the near future?

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