Lab-grown meat by the ton won’t fill hungry tummies

Lifestyle

Lab-grown meat by the ton won’t fill hungry tummies

It’s more likely to provide an extra protein meal a day for a hipster than for someone who actually needs it

Andrea Burgener

Reports from many quarters tell us the near future of meat lies in labs. Real, live animals – apart from the few needed to harvest cells from – won’t be a part of it. When the going gets tough, you can rely on big business to find a way to offer a solution – and cash in.  

There are good reasons why the idea of synthetic protein has been embraced. It’s no news to anyone that industrialised meat production is bad news environmentally: it has a huge emissions footprint (though this is generally grossly overestimated) and uses up masses of land. If we’re talking feedlot beef – the main environmental bugbear – things look increasingly untenable. The lab version, as Memphis Meats (https://www.memphismeats.com/) and others like them tell us, will neatly conjure up the protein to keep us all fed, without these problems.

Not everyone’s buying it. For a start, lab meat, or “clean” meat, as the manufacturers love to call it, has an ick factor to it. But this aspect is background noise. The bigger conversation seems to be about whether it will be feasible to make the stuff in bulk. Maybe, maybe not; perhaps they can make mountains of it, perhaps it will even taste delicious. But the much more important question is whether the ability to make synthesised animal protein by the ton translates into an effective food solution.  ..

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