Moving 'clean meat' from lab to table

October 24, 2018, American Chemical Society

meat
Credit: Alex Borland/public domain
"Clean meat," or meat produced from cultured animal cells, promises enormous benefits for animal welfare and the environment. But to deliver on this promise, clean meat start-ups face many challenges, both technical and in the realm of consumer acceptance, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

In 2013, Mark Post of Maastricht University made world headlines when he debuted the first example of clean meat—a hamburger made of cells from a cow's shoulder that required 2 years, hundreds of petri dishes and $325,000 to make. After this proof of concept, many start-up companies jumped on the bandwagon, Senior Business Editor Melody Bomgardner writes. However, numerous challenges lie ahead on the road to commercialization, including product naming and labeling, and the need for new technologies to massively scale-up production and make cost-competitive, flavorful foods.

To begin with, the industry needs to agree on a name for the new products. Possibilities being discussed include "cultured meat," "in vitro meat," "cell-based meat" and "clean meat" (a popular term because it communicates environmental benefits). Most proponents want to avoid any connotations that the meat is synthetic or artificial because that could alienate consumers. An even bigger challenge is scaling up production from to large fermentation tanks, which likely would involve finding cheaper, animal-free growth media, appropriate cell types and a scaffolding material to structure the meat. Also, clean meat companies must demonstrate that the product is as safe and flavorful as the real thing. For now, the clean meat industry isn't setting its sights on completely replacing conventional burgers and steaks—just on capturing a small percentage of the $1-trillion-per-year combined , poultry and seafood market.

Explore further: Lab-grown meat could be in restaurants in 3 years (Update)

More information: "The to-do list for 'clean' meat," cen.acs.org/business/food-ingr … ist-cleanmeat/96/i42

Related Stories

US farm lobby wants strict definition of 'meat'

April 10, 2018

A major US agriculture lobbying group on Tuesday threw its weight behind an effort to keep the "meat" label off of lab-created products, including ones that employ animal cells.

Consumers aren't necessarily sold on 'cultured meat'

August 23, 2018

It's been a busy summer for food-based biotech. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration made headlines when it approved the plant-based "Impossible Burger," which relies on an ingredient from genetically modified yeast for ...

How over-production of meat is maintained

June 7, 2018

Meat consumption is high in Sweden, but production nevertheless outstrips demand. In a new doctoral thesis in sociology, Jonas Bååth has studied how Swedish meat producers are handling the problems that arise when supply ...

Recommended for you

Earth's deep mantle flows dynamically

March 25, 2019

As ancient ocean floors plunge over 1,000 km into the Earth's deep interior, they cause hot rock in the lower mantle to flow much more dynamically than previously thought, finds a new UCL-led study.

Scientists solve mystery shrouding oldest animal fossils

March 25, 2019

Scientists from The Australian National University (ANU) have discovered that 558 million-year-old Dickinsonia fossils do not reveal all of the features of the earliest known animals, which potentially had mouths and guts.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.