from the how-much-of-a-premium-would-YOU-pay? dept.
Splashy headlines have long overshadowed inconvenient truths about biology and economics. Now, extensive new research suggests the industry may be on a billion-dollar crash course with reality.
[...] [In March], the Good Food Institute (GFI), a nonprofit that represents the alternative protein industry, published a techno-economic analysis (TEA) that projected the future costs of producing a kilogram of cell-cultured meat. Prepared independently for GFI by the research consulting firm CE Delft, and using proprietary data provided under NDA by 15 private companies, the document showed how addressing a series of technical and economic barriers could lower the production price from over $10,000 per pound today to about $2.50 per pound over the next nine years—an astonishing 4,000-fold reduction.
In the press push that followed, GFI claimed victory. "New studies show cultivated meat can have massive environmental benefits and be cost-competitive by 2030," it trumpeted, suggesting that a new era of cheap, accessible cultured protein is rapidly approaching. The finding is critical for GFI and its allies. If private, philanthropic, and public sector investors are going to put money into cell-cultured meat, costs need to come down quickly. Most of us have a limited appetite for 50-dollar lab-grown chicken nuggets.
[...] [Dr. Paul Wood] couldn't believe what he was hearing. In his view, GFI's TEA report did little to justify increased public investment. He found it to be an outlandish document, one that trafficked more in wishful thinking than in science. He was so incensed that he hired a former Pfizer colleague, Huw Hughes, to analyze GFI's analysis. Today, Hughes is a private consultant who helps biomanufacturers design and project costs for their production facilities; he's worked on six sites devoted to cell culture at scale. Hughes concluded that GFI's report projected unrealistic cost decreases, and left key aspects of the production process undefined, while significantly underestimating the expense and complexity of constructing a suitable facility.
[...] In fact, GFI was well aware of Wood's line of criticism. Several months earlier, Open Philanthropy—a multi-faceted research and investment entity with a nonprofit grant-making arm, which is also one of GFI's biggest funders—completed a much more robust TEA of its own, one that concluded cell-cultured meat will likely never be a cost-competitive food. David Humbird, the UC Berkeley-trained chemical engineer who spent over two years researching the report, found that the cell-culture process will be plagued by extreme, intractable technical challenges at food scale. In an extensive series of interviews with The Counter, he said it was "hard to find an angle that wasn't a ludicrous dead end."
Lab-Grown Pork Closer to Reality
Lab-Grown Chicken (and Duck) Could be on the Menu in 4 Years
Cargill, Bill Gates, Richard Branson Backed Memphis Meats Expects Meat From Cells in Stores by 2021
'Soylent' Dawkins? Atheist Mulls 'Taboo Against Cannibalism' Ending as Lab-Grown Meat Improves
Artificial Meat: UK Scientists Growing 'Bacon' in Labs
Impossible Foods CEO Ponders Fake Imaginary Meat
KFC is Working with a Russian 3D Bioprinting Firm to Try to Make Lab-Produced Chicken Nuggets
Gen Z Not Ready to Eat Lab-Grown Meat
No-Kill, Lab-Grown Meat to Go on Sale for First Time
Singapore Approves a Lab-Grown Meat Product, a Global First
Growth Industries: Lab-Grown Structures and Meats
Paris-Based Company Gourmey Hopes Ethical Lab-Grown Foie Gras Will Overcome Bans
Scientists from the University of Missouri, the University of Maryland and the Animal Bioscience and Biotechnology Laboratory, US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service have published an article in Nature outlining a method for "generating skeletal muscle efficiently from porcine induced pluripotent stem cells (piPSC) in vitro thereby providing a versatile platform for applications ranging from regenerative biology to the ex vivo cultivation of meat". The research used a porcine stem cell line to generate muscular tissue instead of cells taken directly from a pig:
"What the paper describes is research designed to generate muscle from a newly established pig stem-cell line, rather that from primary cells taken directly from a pig," co-author Dr. Nicholas Genovese, a stem-cell biologist (and vegetarian), told Digital Trends. "This entailed understanding the biology of relatively uncharacterized and recently-derived porcine induced pluripotent stem cell lines. What conditions support cell growth, survival and differentiation? These are all questions I had to figure out in the lab before the cells could be turned into muscle."
Also at GlobalMeatNews.
Enhanced Development of Skeletal Myotubes from Porcine Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (open, DOI: 10.1038/srep41833) (DX)
A company called Memphis Meats has announced that it has developed artificial/synthetic/lab-grown/cultured chicken and duck meat. The company's press release says it plans to sell cultured meat products to consumers as soon as 2021. Duck is identified as key to the mainland China market, which consumes more of it (over 6 billion pounds annually) than the rest of the world combined:
The quest for artificial meat inches forward—the company Memphis Meats announced today it has developed chicken and duck meat from cultured cells of each bird, producing "clean poultry." The firm provided few details, although participants at a tasting reportedly said the chicken tasted like, well, chicken. Below is a repost of a story originally published 23 August 2016 on some of the regulatory challenges and questions facing Memphis Meats and other companies pursuing artificial meats.
[...] So far, none of these synthetic foods has reached the marketplace. But a handful of startup companies in the United States and elsewhere are trying to scale up production. In the San Francisco Bay area in California, entrepreneurs at Memphis Meats hope to have their cell-cultured meatballs, hot dogs, and sausages on store shelves in about 5 years, and those at Perfect Day are targeting the end of 2017 to distribute cow-free dairy products. It's not clear, however, which government agencies would oversee this potential new food supply.
Historically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates meat, poultry, and eggs, whereas the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees safety and security for food additives. FDA also approves so-called biologics, which include products made from human tissues, blood, and cells, and gene therapy techniques. But emerging biotechnologies may blur those lines of oversight, because some of the new foods don't fit neatly into existing regulatory definitions. "Cellular culture raises a lot of questions," says Isha Datar, CEO of New Harvest, a New York City–based nonprofit founded to support this nascent industry.
To help provide answers, the White House last year launched an initiative to review and overhaul how U.S. agencies regulate agricultural biotechnology [DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6244.131] [DX]. And the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C., is working on a broader study of future biotechnology developments and regulation, with a report slated for release at the end of this year. In the meantime, industry leaders are thinking about how their potential lab-based foods might be handled by regulators. One approach, they tell ScienceInsider, is to show that their product is similar to an existing product that testing has already shown to pose no hazards. "Most food regulation is about aligning new products with something that's already recognized as safe," Datar notes.
Related: Producing Beef has the Greatest Impact on the Environment Compared to Other Animal Based Foods
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Would You Try Silicon Valley's Bloody Plant Burger(s)?
Lab-Grown Pork Closer to Reality
Right now, manufactured meat is as real as a flying car.
- Anonymous Coward, 2014
Submitted via IRC for takyon
Cargill Inc., one of the largest global agricultural companies, has joined Bill Gates and other business giants to invest in a nascent technology to make meat from self-producing animal cells amid rising consumer demand for protein that's less reliant on feed, land and water.
Memphis Meats, which produces beef, chicken and duck directly from animal cells without raising and slaughtering livestock or poultry, raised $17 million from investors including Cargill, Gates and billionaire Richard Branson, according to a statement Tuesday on the San Francisco-based startup's website. The fundraising round was led by venture-capital firm DFJ, which has previously backed several social-minded retail startups.
They made the first ever chicken and duck meat that were produced without the animals.
"They're the leader in clean meat. There's no one else that far along," says venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, whose firm led Memphis Meats' recent $17 million Series A. Before he met Valeti in 2016, Jurvetson spent almost five years researching lab-grown meat and meat alternatives, believing the market was set to explode. "They're the only one that convinced me they can get to a price point and a scale that would make a difference in the industry," he says.
Related: Lab-grown meat would 'cut emissions and save energy'
Producing Beef has the Greatest Impact on the Environment Compared to Other Animal Based Foods
Real Vegan Cheese: Coming From a Yeast to You
Would You Try Silicon Valley's Bloody Plant Burger(s)?
Lab-Grown Pork Closer to Reality
'Soylent' Dawkins? Atheist mulls 'taboo against cannibalism' ending as lab-grown meat improves
What if human meat is grown? Could we overcome our taboo against cannibalism?"
- @RichardDawkins - 6:15 AM - 3 Mar 2018
"Lab-grown 'clean' meat could be on sale by end of 2018, says producer"
"'Soylent' Dawkins? Atheist mulls 'taboo against cannibalism' ending as lab-grown meat improves"
Scientists at the University of Bath have grown animal cells on blades of grass, in a step towards cultured meat.
If the process can be reproduced on an industrial scale, meat lovers might one day be tucking into a slaughter-free supply of "bacon".
The researchers say the UK can move the field forward through its expertise in medicine and engineering.
Lab-based meat products are not yet on sale, though a US company, Just, has said its chicken nuggets, grown from cells taken from the feather of chicken that is still alive, will soon be in a few restaurants.
[...]Chemical engineer Dr Marianne Ellis, of the University of Bath, sees cultured meat as "an alternative protein source to feed the world". Cultured pig cells are being grown in her laboratory, which could one day lead to bacon raised entirely off the hoof.
Plant-based meat products are bigger than ever, with the fast-food industry, grocery stores, and upscale restaurants coming on board. A recent Nielsen report found that plant-based meat alternative purchases went up 279.8 percent last week after Americans were instructed to stay home during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Impossible Foods, a company that develops plant-based meat products, says its mission is to someday replace the incumbent meat industry entirely, stating that, from a mission standpoint, a sale only has value if it comes at the expense of the sale of an animal-derived product.
But what if plant-based meat wasn't just a substitute for an already-existing marketplace, and instead, it started to make meat that has never existed?
On this week's Vergecast podcast, Impossible Foods CEO Patrick Brown talks to Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel about how this impossible meat could be a possibility in the future, even if it doesn't make sense for the company right now.
Related: 'Soylent' Dawkins? Atheist Mulls 'Taboo Against Cannibalism' Ending as Lab-Grown Meat Improves
Meatless "Beyond Burgers" Come to Fast Food Restaurants
Swedish Behavioral Scientist Suggests Eating Humans to 'Save the Planet'
Discriminating Diets Of Meat-Eating Dinosaurs
Meat Industry PR Campaign Bashes Plant-Based Meat Alternatives
Unilever Pushing for Plant-Based Meat
Judge Serves Up Sizzling Rebuke of Arkansas' Anti-Veggie-Meat Labeling Law
KFC is trying to create the world’s first laboratory-produced chicken nuggets, part of its “restaurant of the future” concept, the company announced. The chicken restaurant chain will work with Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions to develop bioprinting technology that will “print” chicken meat, using chicken cells and plant material.
KFC plans to provide the bioprinting firm with ingredients like breading and spices “to achieve the signature KFC taste” and will seek to replicate the taste and texture of genuine chicken.
It’s worth noting that the bioprinting process KFC describes uses animal material, so any nuggets it produced wouldn’t be vegetarian. KFC does offer a vegetarian option at some of its restaurants; last year it became the first US fast-food chain to test out Beyond Meat’s plant-based chicken product, which it plans to roll out to more of its locations this summer.
Bioprinted nuggets would be more environmentally friendly to produce than standard chicken meat, KFC says, citing (but not linking to) a study by the American Environmental Science and Technology Journal it says shows the benefits of growing meat from cells, including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption compared to traditional farming methods.
Gen Z are the new kids on the block. As a cohort of 5 million people born between 1995-2015 encompassing 20 percent of the Australian population and 2 billion people globally -- they're consumers to be reckoned with.
New research by the University of Sydney and Curtin University to published on 8 September in Frontiers in Nutrition, found that, despite having a great concern for the environment and animal welfare, 72 percent of Generation Z were not ready to accept cultured meat -- defined in the survey as a lab-grown meat alternative produced by in-vitro cell cultures of animal cells, instead of from slaughtered animals.
However, despite their lack of enthusiasm for the new meat alternative, 41 percent believed it could be a viable nutritional source because of the need to transition to more sustainable food options and improve animal welfare.
9 percent rejected cultured meat but accepted eating insects.
Cultured meat, produced in bioreactors without the slaughter of an animal, has been approved for sale by a regulatory authority for the first time. The development has been hailed as a landmark moment across the meat industry.
The "chicken bites", produced by the US company Eat Just, have passed a safety review by the Singapore Food Agency and the approval could open the door to a future when all meat is produced without the killing of livestock, the company said.
Dozens of firms are developing cultivated chicken, beef and pork, with a view to slashing the impact of industrial livestock production on the climate and nature crises, as well as providing cleaner, drug-free and cruelty-free meat. Currently, about 130 million chickens are slaughtered every day for meat, and 4 million pigs. Of all the mammals on Earth, 60% are livestock, 36% are humans and only 4% are wild.
[...] Eat Just already has experience in selling non-animal products, such as its plant-based egg and vegan mayonnaise, to consumers. Another company, Supermeat.com in Israel, has just begun free public tastings involving a "crispy cultured chicken".
Industry experts said other companies, including Memphis Meats, Mosa Meat and Aleph Farms, might do well in future as they were working on textured products such as steaks and were able to produce significant amounts of lab-grown meat from the start. Tyson and Cargill, two of the world's biggest conventional meat companies, now have a stake in Memphis Meats.
First, meat came from farms and forests. Then, it came from factories. More recently, entrepreneurs have been making it from plants.
Some have wondered whether there's a more advanced approach: Could meat be grown in a laboratory, from existing cells? That effort has faced multiple challenges, from skepticism over something that comes from a lab to questions about what governments might think.
The nascent laboratory meat industry won a small victory Wednesday on that last point, as an American start-up became the first to win government approval — in this case, an announcement by the city-state of Singapore — to sell the fruit of its labs to the public in the form of "cultured chicken."
The company, Eat Just, is based in San Francisco and describes its product as "real, high-quality meat created directly from animal cells for safe human consumption." Singapore's Food Agency said on Wednesday that it had approved the product for sale as an ingredient in chicken nuggets.
"This is a historic moment in the food system," Eat Just's chief executive, Josh Tetrick, said by telephone on Wednesday. "We've been eating meat for thousands of years, and every time we've eaten meat we've had to kill an animal — until now."
Singapore's move is "the world's first regulatory approval for a cultivated meat product," said Elaine Siu, the managing director of the Good Food Institute Asia Pacific, a nonprofit organization that promotes cultivated meat and plant-based substitutes for animal products.
Stacking Sheets of Tissue Builds Better Lab-Grown Meat
The idea of creating meat by cultivating animal cells rather than from the animal itself is an attractive proposition. Regarded as having a lower environmental impact than raising livestock, cultivated or lab-grown meat also avoids the ethical concerns that many people have about eating meat.
However, cultivating meat isn't like growing mushrooms. Meat is essentially muscle organs, which are a complex assembly of various tissues that have been exercised through the animal's lifetime to produce the right texture, consistency, and taste. In addition, it's not just a matter of what cells are present in the meat, but the ratio and distribution as well. This is why anyone who has eaten a well-marbled beef steak with a high fat content and then a very lean bison steak will certainly be able to tell the difference.
While some food engineers have been able to create cultured meat that resembles minced beef, minute steaks, and chicken nuggets, a greater level of control is needed to give cultured meat the full taste and feel of conventional meat. To put it another way, there needs to be much more control over producing the meat to required specifications.
[...] The method is derived from one that was originally developed to grow tissues for human transplants and involves producing sheets of cells in a nutrient medium, which are then concentrated in paper-thin layers on growth plates. These sheets are then peeled off and stacked or folded together, bonding to one another before the cells die.
As a result, the sheets can not only be stacked up as much as desired to create slabs of meat, but the percentage of fat and degree of marbling can be made to order in much the same way as the fat content of milk is controlled. In addition, the sheets can be cultivated in days and assembled in hours.
Alireza Shahin-Shamsabadi, P. Ravi Selvaganapathy. Engineering Murine Adipocytes and Skeletal Muscle Cells in Meat-like Constructs Using Self-Assembled Layer-by-Layer Biofabrication: A Platform for Development of Cultivated Meat, Cells Tissues Organs (DOI: 10.1159/000511764)
Lab-Grown Plant Tissue Could Ease the Environmental Toll of Logging and Agriculture
The push to make foie gras, the fattened liver of a duck or goose, in a lab comes amid a push to find a sustainable, ethical alternative to meat raised for slaughter. Most foie gras is made by force-feeding ducks and geese through a tube to engorge their livers up to 10 times their normal sizes. The process can leave ducks too big to walk or breathe, according to animal activists.
[...] With growing opposition to foie gras because of animal cruelty concerns, Nicolas Morin-Forest, Gourmey’s co-founder and chief executive, said that producing the delicacy from cultivated cells was a way to preserve a centuries-old French culinary tradition.
[...] Gourmey engineers faux meat by taking cells out of a freshly laid duck egg and placing them into a cultivator. The cells are then fed with proteins, amino acids and sugar, similar to the nutrients a duck would get from a diet of oats, corn and grass. The cells are then harvested and transformed into foie gras in a process that uses significantly less land and water than traditional methods.
[...] Mr. Morin-Forest said that, on a technical level, foie gras was well suited to be grown in a lab precisely because of its delicate texture compared with other types of meat.