“Clean meat” company Future Meat Technologies anticipate they can bring the price of lab-grown, “meatless” meat down to approximately $8 per kg [$4 per pound]. The process involves obtaining mesenchymal stem cells from the animal and differentiating the stem cells into both muscle and fat tissues, which are indistinguishable from those found in standard meat. The meat cooks, tastes and smells exactly like anything you’d get from an animal- however, the biggest hurdle has been its high price. Future Meat Technologies looks to overcome this hurdle by bringing costs down, by differentiating stem cells more efficiently and scaling up production.
Billionaires Bill Gates and Steve Branson have joined Cargill [one of the largest agricultural companies in the world] in investing in Memphis Meats, which has been working to bring accessible, ethical and cruelty free meat to the market. Memphis Meats has successfully grown beef, chicken and duck meat from the animals’ stem cells, providing the same taste and nutrition without any harm to animals. By programming the cells to become muscle tissue, the company has been able to create lab-grown meat with all the biological components of real meat. The cultured meat is said to look and taste exactly like the real deal, but could be even more salubrious for consumption, given that it bypasses the hormones and the unhealthy diets that livestock is often fed.
As the world’s population grows and emerging economies continue to develop, our agricultural environment is changing. Meats are a valuable source of protein and nutritional requirements, but the current methods of producing meat are wildly inefficient—from both an economic and environmental standpoint. Several start-up companies are combatting this problem by using stem cells to produce meat products for human consumption.