In what could be a boom new business sector, cultivated meat products are nearing a rollout in the U.S. as soon as this year.
- Cultivated meat products could be in U.S. restaurants by the end of the year, pending approval from federal regulators, Reuters reports.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already announced in November that cultivated meat is safe for humans to eat, and companies are just awaiting final approval for their products.
- Companies like GOOD Meat, UPSIDE, Mosa Meat, and Believer Meats have already raised over $2 billion in investments to begin scaling the cultivated meat industry in the future.
- The fledgling non-meat industry was valued at $163.6 million in 2021.The beef industry is valued at $497.3 billion, and these companies are already preparing to produce tens of millions of pounds of beef and poultry substitutes within the next five years.
- These companies may begin selling cultivated meat products to restaurants in 2023 before scaling up and offering a full retail rollout by 2028.
Why It’s Important
As the future faces ethical and logistical crises surrounding supply-chain issues and global conflict, food security and the ethical issues surrounding how it is procured continue to be raised. There have also been ethical issues and climate concerns with factory farming for decades that have spurred attempts to raise more humane alternatives for meat production.
Cultivated meat production involves growing meat in large steel vats called bioreactors, using cell samples from livestock that are fed nutrients and grown. The final product reported looks and tastes like real meat. The process is called a “slaughterless house.”
The companies that produce cultivated meat are already optimistic that their products will see approval within the year and note that multiple influential high-end chefs have taken an interest in leading the charge with popularizing their products and showcasing how to prepare them.
It will still be a challenge to produce enough cultivated meat for the general public. Cultivated meat executives need more funding to scale up their production methods, Reuters reports. The meat industry reportedly consumes 106 billion pounds of meat in the U.S. and current facilities are only producing hundreds of thousands of pounds. Believer Meats and GOOD Meat are already in the process of building facilities that could collectively increase annual cultivated meat production to 52 million pounds per year.
The executives also note that they expect reluctance from the general public to eat “lab-grown meat,” although they hope to sell it to the public by emphasizing that animal slaughter is eliminated through their processes. It could also reduce some of the 14.5% of global climate emissions produced by factory farming. One psychology study found that 35% of meat eaters and 55% of vegetarians were averse to the idea of cultivated meat.