Lab-grown food might sound a little bit sci-fi, but it looks set to become an actual reality within as little as three years. Now, we can’t help but think of Willy Wonka’s disastrous attempts at a three-course dinner-flavoured gum when we think of food and labs, which turned poor Violet Beauregarde into a giant blueberry. But we’re always open to new ideas, so long as they’re not going to turn us purple.
Dutch company Mosa Meat has been awarded £6.7 million to develop lab-grown meat, which it believes would be suitable for veggies and vegans to eat. Is it okay to eat meat though if no animals have been killed in its manufacturing process? We’re not so sure, as there can be lots of other reasons people want to steer clear of eating meat.
Mosa Meat’s concept revolves around taking tiny samples of cells from live animals, taking them to the lab and feeding them with special nutrients to encourage them to grow into muscle tissue. Yep, this is all sounding a bit Frankenstein’s monster now.
However, the company believes it could create as many as 80,000 beef quarter pounders from just one sample of cells, meaning this would be a much more ethical and humane way to produce meat on a mass scale.
It’s being dubbed as ‘clean meat’, but the word ‘clean’ has attracted negative connotations where eating habits are concerned over the past few years, so ‘synthetic meat’ is being suggested as a more appropriate alternative.
All this fake meat would be much better for the environment too. Fewer cows would need to be bred purely for beef, meaning there’d be fewer toxic cow farts (sorry, but it’s true) filling the atmosphere with potentially harmful greenhouse gases.
But will veggies and vegans actually want to eat this lab-grown meat? Ultimately, it’ll still be an animal product, so it’s likely that many won’t. And there are plenty of other ways for people to get essential iron and protein into their diets, like these great veggie recipes where you won’t miss meat at all, and these vegan recipes to wow meat lovers.
But we’ll leave it up to you whether you fancy trying synthetic meat when it hits restaurant menus circa 2021 – we have to admit, we’re very intrigued.