Cultured Meat Facts
Cultured Meat Facts

45 Amazing Artificial Meat Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published April 26, 2020
  • Artificial meat, meat that is made using cell cultures in a lab rather than from actual animals, has also been called “cultured meat,” “clean meat,” “in vitro meat,” and “alt-meat,” in attempts to accurately but favorably describe the product.[3]
  • Alternative meat options fall into two categories: plant-based protein or cell-based animal products grown in a laboratory.[4]
  • Cultured meat is created by placing an animal stem cell in a nutrient-rich serum and shaping them, as they multiply, into long tendrils that are then formed together into a patty or other shape.[2]
  • Research into whether consumers would consider buying artificial meat suggests that many people are uncomfortable with the idea, for a variety of reasons.[3]
  • In 2013, the first artificial hamburger patty was eaten at a press conference in London. The patty, created by Dr. Mark Post, took over two years to develop and cost $330,000.[3][5]
  • One of the main challenges to producing artificial meat is the expense of making it; although biotech companies have been consistently finding ways to lower the price, the meat originally cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce.[3]
  • Artificial meat is made from the stem cells of a live adult animal.[3]
  • Plant based protein
    While it will be a few years before cultured meat is widely available, plant-based proteins are now mainstream
  • Artificial meat looks and tastes like meat because it is made from animal cells that are grown into patties and nuggets. This is different from plant-based substitutes, which may have a meaty taste but lack actual animal tissue.[3]
  • Another alternative to meat from animals, the “impossible burger” was recently approved by the FDA and is made from plant products and a genetically modified yeast that gives the product its meat flavor.[3]
  • Currently, every new batch of artificial meat requires new stem cells to make, although researchers are optimistic that a process will soon be found to use the same cells to make multiple batches.[3]
  • Environmental groups and animal welfare advocates generally support the development of artificial meat, as the absence of a need for livestock would make it a more environmentally friendly option.[3]
  • The United States Cattlemen’s Association prefers the name “cultured tissue” to describe artificial meat, so that consumers are not confused by the use of the word “meat.”[3]
  • The American Meat Science Association has raised concerns about whether artificial meat is as safe and nutritious as traditional meat.[3]
  • Artificial Meat Environment
    Raising enough cattle to supply the world with beef takes a huge amount of land
  • Plant-based protein burgers use around 80–90% less water, 90% less land, and 90% less fossil fuel to produce than the equivalent amount of ground beef.[4]
  • Several studies have shown that men are almost twice as likely as women to be open to the idea of consuming artificial meat.[3]
  • A poll taken in 2018 showed that the likelihood of consumers being willing to try artificial meat increased proportionately to income, although in all income brackets there was a significant population who said they would be unlikely to ever try it.[3]
  • A US company called “Just” is producing chicken nuggets grown from cells taken from the feather of a live chicken. The company says the nuggets will be ready to sell in restaurants in the very near future.[1]
  • A team of biotech researchers in the Netherlands grew the first artificial burger, but it was a research team in Israel that produced the first affordable steak—a thin strip of steak cost $50, compared to the hundreds of thousands for the burger in the Netherlands.[1]
  • In England, cultured cells are grown on blades of grass to provide structure for the cells and for the purpose of incorporating the grass into the final product, mimicking the consumption of grass by cows.[1]
  • A recent study found that artificial meat might actually be worse for climate change, given the amount of energy required for its production, although it would reduce the toll of agriculture on water and land.[1]
  • A poll on artificial meat revealed that 18–29 year olds were likely willing to purchase artificial meat, suggesting that younger adults are more open to the idea than older generations.[3]
  • Cultured Meat Burger
    The young are bold

  • One major reason consumers might oppose artificial meat is based on the belief that natural things are always better than unnatural.[1]
  • Cultured meat grown in a lab will likely not be widely available until the mid 2020s.[1]
  • The first lab-grown hamburger was created by Mosa Meat, a Dutch startup company financially backed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, among others.[5]
  • Theoretically, the world's entire supply of beef could be grown from a single microscopic cell.[5]
  • Some "animal products," such as milk and egg whites, can be produced without using stem cells at all; genetically modified yeast can be used to grow proteins that mimic those in milk and eggs.[2]
  • A company called Modern Meadow is working to create a variety of lab-grown meat products, including novel creations like "steak chips."[5]
  • Future Cultured Meat
    The possibilities are nearly endless
  • Scientists could conceivably use a varied combination of stem cells to create new, artificial hybrid meats.[2]
  • In 1894, French chemist Pierre-Eugène-Marcellin Berthelot predicted that meat would be grown in laboratories by the year 2000.[5]
  • The cultured meat and animal product movement is sometimes referred to more broadly as "cellular agriculture."[5]
  • Lab-grown meat is said to taste a bit more bland than traditional slaughtered meat.[5]
  • One of the biggest arguments proponents raise in favor of lab-grown meat is the need for cheaper and more environmentally sustainable meat sources as Earth's population continues to grow.[5]
  • We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.

    - Winston Churchill

    History Cultured Meat
    He may have been off by a few decades in this case, but he was still far-seeing (Yousuf Karsh)
  • In a 1931 essay entitled "50 Years Hence," Winston Churchill predicted the eventuality of lab-grown meat.[5]
  • Several fast-food chains, including Burger King and McDonald's, have launched their own version of a meatless burger made from plant-based protein.[4]
  • Plant-based protein is made by extracting protein from plants and then adding other plant materials to imitate the look, taste, and texture of meat.[4]
  • Artificial meat cultured from animal cells takes six weeks to grow—the same amount of time it takes to raise a chicken for slaughter.[4]
  • Plant-based proteins are already widely available on the market, but meats grown from cells have yet to be developed for mass production.[4]
  • Based on calories per meal, plant-based proteins are healthier than the meat products they are engineered to replace. However, some experts suggest that this isn't enough to make up for the highly-processed nature of plant-based proteins, which involves adding a lot of substitute ingredients in the manufacturing process.[4]
  • Cell-based artificial meat has the potential to be healthier than regular animal meat because the products can be engineered to increase the amount of proteins and vitamins and decrease unhealthy fats.[4]
  • Biotech Meat
    Many biotech engineers working in the field believe that cultured meat is the future of protein
  • More than meat can be grown in a lab. Scientists are working on creating other animal products, such as eggs, milk, and leather, in the laboratory.[5]
  • One motivation for the production of plant or cell-based substitutes for meats involves concerns over the amount of antibiotics used in modern meat production, which health officials claim is responsible for rendering segments of the human population resistant to disease-fighting antibiotics.[4]
  • It is estimated that large-scale production of plant-based alternatives to meat would produce roughly the same amount of climate-harming emissions as the production of an equivalent number of chickens.[4]
  • Plant-based burgers can cost more than double their regular meat equivalents.[4]
  • In principle, any meat could be created using the laboratory culture process, including meat not generally consumed, such as panda or tiger meat.[2]
  • Proponents of cultured meat envision a future where local restaurants, grocery stores, and even homes may be equipped with machines capable of growing meat on a small scale, as needed.[2]

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