Sep
02

Does our future grow in labs?

Vienna on Sep 2, 2019
post-8_2-9

Ranging from artificial sweeteners to plant-based milk goods, all traditional nutritional products can be replaced by different kinds of substitutes nowadays. The newest trend: artificially grown meat.
Grown in labs and harvested when fully developed, this technique is highly complex, not clearly accepted by the broad mass and not fully developed yet. However, lab-grown meat sees a strong rise in popularity, which is based on its potential to meet the needs of our exponentially rising population and tackle the associated difficulties.

Planted and infused with nutrients, the product fully develops to an equivalent of meat, without harming animals. With only one single stem cell it is possible to create a piece of meat. These can be turned into an infinite amount of meat. When fed a nutrient-rich serum, the cells transform into muscle cells and proliferate, doubling in number roughly every few days.

After cells have multiplied, they form into muscle strips, like muscle cells from fibers in living tissue. Afterwards, these fibers get attached to a scaffold that floods them with nutrition and undergoes a certain kind of exercise, which means that they are mechanically stretched. Growing in size, the muscle cells parallelly increase their protein content. The result is an equivalent to animal-based meat, which can be harvested and seasoned, before being cooked. Taking a closer look at this process points out the importance of the nutrient-rich serum which is used. Based on a certain mixture of amino acids and animal blood, the current way of development is strongly criticized, as it still includes animal-based components as animal blood.

Opinions on this topic are ranging from total acceptance to great skepticism. A nationwide survey in the UK shows that only 40 % would rather eat lab- grown meat, whilst 40 % are still indecisive. 20 % refuse this idea, though it is clearly stated that younger generations, urbanites and wealthier people are more open to it.

During our research on this topic we came across some behavior, which corresponds with the statistics. While on the one hand the avoidance of slaughtered animals, as well as lower water usage and no need for arable lands clearly states the positive impact of this concept, the thought of eating something which was artificially produced in the lab causes irritations. However, there is still a huge gap between the product development and full implementation and accessibility for the broad mass.

Jump at the chance meeting Benjamina Bollag, CEO of Higher Steaks UK and a professional in this field, and register for the Future of Food event, which will be held on the 30th of September. See you there!

Written by Aleksandra Kirpenko